Designer imposter

posted by Jeff | Monday, April 9, 2012, 11:33 PM | comments: 0

With the bulk of the more involved backend work for vNext of CoasterBuzz finished, I've started to turn my attention now to the design. Which is to say I've tried to eliminate as much design as possible. Call it the "Metro influence" of Windows Phone and Windows 8, I suppose, but I've really gotten into less-is-more. I suspect a lot of people, including designer friends, will hate it.

The Web has seen a lot of trends. It went through a big texture phase around the turn of the century, and that lasted for awhile. That gave way to gradients, and they've been with us for a long time. During much of that time, I was all about thick, bold lines, and that carried over into the current version of CoasterBuzz. Rounded corners might never go out of style. Lately, the world is about white space, and for some reason, stitching patterns for borders. I don't really get that one.

I have to admit that I've been a big fan of Facebook's style, really from the start. The shades of blue already lend themselves to getting out of the way, but they do a nice job of taking an information dense site and keep it readable. They still do some stupid things from time to time (see if you can find the photo options to make a profile photo, delete or rotate the image), but they also tend to iterate quickly and improve as they go.

CB is not going to have a lot of "chrome" around stuff. No rounded corners, few lines or bold type, no gradient backgrounds. I'm trying to make the content, especially the photos, really take center stage. I'm continually messing with typography, paying attention to letter spacing and readability. Color is used in a minimal way as well. No messed up yellow on gray, blue on black or anything hideous like that. Oh, and I'm not supporting old browsers. I'm cutting that cord. If it looks like crap in IE6, that's not my problem.

It's hard to say how people will react when they finally see it. I'd be lying if I said I didn't care, but I want to care less, if I can. The big win for me, and this includes the programming side of it, is that my many years of experience developing software have brought me to a point where I can iterate and improve very quickly, without a lot of effort. It used to be such a pain, and high risk, to change anything. That's no longer the case.

I'll be glad to get it in out into the wild so I can stop thinking about it for awhile. I've been too close to it recently to look at it objectively anymore.


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