Design Sacrifices

I think there’s a fine line that needs to be drawn between fancy and functionality. I’m a little guilty of crossing that line in my new design, the late stages of which you can find over here. When I was drawing up the plans for the new design, I threw in practically every fancy feature I had seen from around the web: instant search, sliding menus, stuff fading in and out, and cool little image popups (lightbox). A lot of it was just plain cool – and served very little purpose other than to grab your attention in hopefully a good, but perhaps a bad way as well.

It’s also co-op interview season at the University of Waterloo again, and at my interview for a web development position at the Bank of Montreal, I found myself being very hypocritical. As a response to the question ‘what are some characteristics of a poor web design’ I answered everything I was putting into my own web design, namely too much content hitting the user all at once and putting in flashy little apps just for the sake of having them. The idea is to use these little extensions to help in creating a more enjoyable and efficient browing session. If it’s there but serves no purpose other than to show off your skillz, it probably shouldn’t be.

So with that little revelation, I went through my little javascript folder and realized 250kb is waaayyy overkill. Of the features I’ve implemented (live search, sliding navigation and comment panes, live commenting and lightbox) the most useful is the live search. After that is probably live commenting. Lightbox I’ve decided to get rid of and perhaps I’ll replace the sliding panes with a simple show or hide with a few lines of js. Hopefully that’ll not only make my external scripts much smaller, but also remove some of the feature clutter that’s gathering.

Expect to see a fairly final version pop up here in the next day or two.

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