The State of Israeli Web Design

If you are thinking of utilizing the services of an Israeli web designer, here are a few things to consider.

from Smashing Magazine:

Shalom! Showcase Of Web Design In Israel

Much like many of Israel’s cities – hastily built and functional, yet poorly planned – such is the unfortunate state of most of the country’s websites. Most Israeli websites look unfinished, and they probably are. And Hebrew being a right-to-left language doesn’t help! Being victims of circumstance, Israeli Web designers cannot unleash their creative potential to make modern, usable working websites.

Even though some cutting-edge technologies are being developed right here in Israel – which is home to former hot startups such as ICQ (which became AOL messenger) and Intel (which is inside your machine… have a look!) – most business owners still putter around in IE6. Israel opened its first official Mac store only last year.

… In a 62-year-old country that is in a constant state of war, where every citizen has to join the army at the age of 18, efficiency (not to be mistaken for productivity or effectiveness) is almost sacred. It has been the most important quality in building this country, and it tends to be the most valued quality in any project. One could say, “It doesn’t matter if it’s good, as long is it works…” Sort of… Close enough. Thus usability, aesthetics and trends are ignored quite often, making the job of the designer secondary.

Another side effect of this harsh efficiency-driven attitude is the de-emphasis on a proper technological education. Because clients only demand that things “work,” standards, trends and aesthetics are the last thing on a developer’s mind. In turn, clients lack a real understanding of the media, which is why so many Israeli websites use Flash. The lack of variety of supported Hebrew Web fonts is also a factor. But fortunately SEO is creeping in and forcing even the most stubborn clients to ditch Flash for HTML and to replace images with live text as much as possible, which will hopefully push typography awareness to the next level.

image: Israeli design at its best: ILook, an Israeli street-fashion blog. The text on the left side says: “Send me a good picture of a hipster and win 300 bottles of Maccabi beer”.