Thursday, 19 April 2007

Web design trends and tools...

Check out this entry from InfoTangle. Warning: It's incredibly long (for a blog entry) but it's totally worth it. It's a great summary of some of the trends, changes, new tools and new concepts in web design now such as drag-and-drop functionality, use of bold colours and bold shapes, and navigation by "heat map". Some old hat stuff for those who are paying attention, but it's always great to see it summarized so succinctly. (Found via this entry on Tame The Web.)

What I have to say about all this is that there are two reasons a user visits a site (and I'm really focusing on library web sites here but I think it can be generalized), or rather two situations they are in when they come to a site: they either have time or they don't. They are either there to find something they need or they are browsing and wandering around. In the first case, your site must be simple and straightforward. They are looking for what they want and if they don't find it within microseconds, they'll get fed up and leave. In the second case, intricacy is often preferred, or at least enough "stuff" to entertain, to tempt, even to confuse temporarily. These two design guidelines are somewhat contradictory but they can be used simulataneously. Obviously the first case takes priority: navigation must be simple. But then you can fancy the rest of the pages up with some interesting images, tools, interactivity, etc. as long as they don't crowd out the simple navigation. It's a fine line, but I have faith in you... LOL

1 comment:

Jenn B said...

To summarize it...use lots of images in your web design.

Personally I subscribe to the "rule of 5 and sometimes 6" as I call it. 5-6 menu items (not including your home page), 5-6 colours (and shades of that colour)...5-6 items on the front page and no more than that.

I don't think the web has changed very much at all actually. I think that people are just finally building pages better and being more creative with the tools that are available.

And I personally think that the worst thing that has happened to the internet is WordPress and Joomla. Giving the power to create sites to a 'user' (I use the term loosely) is great but 'users' should follow the standards that are in place that make search engines work correctly and that make their pages accessible to all people.

Just some scattered thoughts. I should start a blog on this LOL!