Notes on the Site Design

I wanted to write a little something about my goals with this site’s design and the process that I employed to get there.

This page deals with the design of the site in both the aesthetic and user-experience realms, but not with the technical side of things. You can find a technical summary of how this site is put together at About Obvious Diversion.

I generally lay out in words the idea of what I want before I deal with anything else. It allows me to have a certain mental guideline as I go through the process. For me, it’s healthy to have certain principles to fall back on when you find yourself at the point where you’ve stared at your design too long to tell what’s working and what isn’t. It’s also equally healthy to change your guidelines from project to project to further develop a sense of what works over time and for a particular project. There is a lot of great data on what works and doesn’t work in design and usability, but throwing chaos into the mix, experimenting in ways that seem unfounded, can ultimately lead to evolution. That said, it can also lead to disaster.

I designed this site over roughly two days with the following ideas in mind:

Aesthetic Concerns

  • Simple elements, when used well, can go a long way.
  • Use a box to create structure, but respect whitespace to leave sense of not being boxed in.
  • Reward people who explore a little more on the site than others. (Note the + – < > at the top of the site.)

Usability Concerns

  • People read from left to right, top to bottom (in most of the world.) A simple point, but an important one.
  • I must be able to explain every element on the page, every choice that I make, and it’s impact on the user.
  • A sense of overall style should be conveyed, but the goal is to create a usable way to distribute information, so don’t create style at the cost of readability or regular use.

Am I happy with the results? To a point. It turned out to be better than I originally imagined, but is still lacking in some areas that I may tweak in the future. Specifically, the typography is still bothering me in the back of my mind.

Let me know what you think, good or bad, and I’ll update here as I adjust the design over time.