[This is part 2 of a 3-part series]
This was originally a video (included below), and these words suplement and distill what I say in the video.
This series was originally inspired by a video, which you can see here:
Web Design for Print Designers — Videos.
I could call this something different, but what I mean is things that do a little something when you hover over them, or somehow change occasionally.
* The little hearts in Made by Water.com
* The way the Feedback tab in Get Satisfaction.com moves slightly when you hover over it
* The way links change color when you hover over them
I suppose I could include in delight, simply the way that small details are rendered, delicately, to create a gentle sense that things were covered; the i’s were dotted, and the t’s were crossed.
Neatness, Alignment, and Air Allow Deliery of Lots of Information without Overwhelm
I think another thing I’ve noticed with print designers is a desire to pare things down and eliminate unnecessary information—they don’t like a clutter of lines, words, etc.
I don’t either; but I think that here’s a way where a printed report and a web page vary greatly. When you’re holding a printed report (or magazine, or book, or brochure) in your hands, your most natural instinct is to turn the pages when you want to explore more.
While web pages do have an equivalent to “turning the pages,” they’re still not the same. In a web page, you can make things that are very faint (demanding not-too-much attention), that then darken (or gain color) when you hover over them, essentially coming into focus when you need them.
I think things like fine rules (lines), nice alignment (whether officially on a grid or not), and flexible color schemes make a site like Good.is (www.good.is) very easy to look at. There’s a ton of stuff going on here, and it’s good.
Information Architecture Matters
In all the examples I site, someone took a lot of time to think out how to organize that information. It means, considering how well the words on the page help you find what you want; how well it’s structured to make sense to your visitor—not to you.
I think all the examples have a good feel in part because of design, and in part because someone thought a lot about this.
Although note, as well, that most of the sites have a lot of different ways to find stuff—besides having nicely delineated categories, and featuring the most important things the most. For example, “active” footers give you a lot more space to lay out what’s on offer.
(See www.webmonkey.com/2010/02/information_architecture_tutorial/ for more.)