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CSS Design - What do You Expect?

Designing for a web savvy audiense

     
1:56 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hi all,

In the next few weeks I'll be working on the visuall aspects of a personal project and wanted to get some idea of opinion on what people expect.

Without being to specific the sites audience will almost certainly be using V6+ browsers and be very web savvy.

Personally I'm not really in favour of 'CSS Tricks' just for the sake of it. I'd prefer a simpler approach that was content rich, easy to read and easy to adjust.

The question is, would users of a 'design' site expect bleeding edge techniques on the site itself or would they prefer simplicity and ease of use?

Opinions, thoughts and views welcome ;)

Nick

2:06 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I would say use everything at your disposal to make a sleek and modern, fast loading GUI without drawing too much attention away from the content. Easier said than done, in my case. :)
2:46 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Not really CSS, but, if you want to impress design folk then you need something like this:
http://www.2advanced.com

Chris

[edited by: Nick_W at 4:34 pm (utc) on Mar. 28, 2003]
[edit reason] de-linked: no urls please ;-) [/edit]

3:02 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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While I always like a sleek and advanced interface, the content is what I come for more than the design....

I will say though, that if the design is sub-standard I'm prejudiced against the content immediately!
<edit>Typo fix</edit>

[edited by: BlobFisk at 4:02 pm (utc) on Mar. 28, 2003]

3:44 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Probably everyone at Webmaster World is web savvy.

So you could do what Webmaster World does.

Unless you are selling the cutting edge stuff.

zoo

3:46 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Nick,

I think people have grown beyond the flash intro pages now and have become tired of the "jazzy graphics just for the sake of it" mentality.

CSS, if used properly, can be very effective. I am immediately turned of any site (no matter how flashy...) if it takes forever to display some weird and wonderful (but mainly useless) grpahics. "Content is King".

Chris.

3:54 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hmmm, Chris, I think that site is a good example of something that would impress design types at the expense of readability/usability by general users. :)
3:57 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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There are plenty of flash sites that are more impressive than 2Advanced, and less irritating into the bargain. Most of the 2advanced site is pointless infact, though the seamless clouds are nice.

Are we talking graphic design or layout/colour/web design? I like simplicity, obvious (and good) linking structure and content I'm looking for; being on a 56k at home, I read the content first and foremost, with graphics being noticed later as and when they load. Thats another decision - whether they're a broadband lot, or struggling modem plebeian group.

4:32 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I agree with wibblewobble - keep it simple.

Whether a design is good or bad ultimately comes down to individual opinion, but you can't argue with content!

Don't alienate the many by trying to impress the few.

Just my opinion of course ;)

Spook

4:33 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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chris_f
Oh yeah, that's the archtictural/drafting board style.

The thing with "design chic" is that it is always in motion. You almost have to redesign your web site once every quarter, if not once a month, if not once a week.

For css design I would expect something different from alistapart, and also less graphics dependent than pixelsurgeon (no slap to you pixelsurgeon, I love your site!). With CSS there's always the trap of falling into the "Blog Style," so I would expect a departure from that.

Oh, all right... I expect the "Bold yet Ethereal" look.

:) Y

4:34 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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i'm also tired of flash intros that serve no purpose, and useless gimmickry in general. unless i'm looking at an experiemental site that is trying something new for the sake of experimentation ... i'm otherwise going to a site to get some information. and while I want the site to look good, my feeling is that the design, when done properly, should make itself disappear. the best design makes the content leap out at you, it does not make you say "wow what a great design." (unless you study it a while).

I like to make an analogy to women wearing makeup. My girlfriends have been known to say to eachother "hey I really like your makeup! it's beautiful!" But makeup should be applied to be invisible. Who wants to be admired for the paint on their face? Wouldn't it be better if the makeup were so skillfully applied that the complimenter said instead "hey YOU are beautiful" ....

ok, that's my 2cents :)

5:10 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Well, I'm pleased to see that most of you feel the same way I do ;)

I'm thinking minimalist on graphics (cos I'm crap at it), maybe just a simple logo and mainly just eye-friendly colors and nice use of white space.

When I mentioned 'CSS Tricks' I really didn't mean gfx, flash, animations or any such thing. I just meant 'css popups', 'funky rollovers', etc etc.

I think a serious content site, even if it's centered on cutting edge design should reflect the reason people come there: To read the content!

>blog style

Hmmmm... it is a blog style backend ;-)
So, what exactly is blog style? and what alternatives might there be?

Cheers everyone

Oh, and WAHAAAY! 3000 Posts!

Nick

5:17 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Oh, and WAHAAAY! 3000 Posts!

Congrats and WOW!

6:23 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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When I mentioned 'CSS Tricks' I really didn't mean gfx, flash, animations or any such thing. I just meant 'css popups', 'funky rollovers', etc etc.

Make it load fast, think about a nice color theme, do something "different", but avoid using "CSS tricks"> Just because something can be done doesn't mean we have to do it. :) I'd implement all the latest CSS/HTML/JS stuff, but at it's simplest level (if you know what I mean).

6:58 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Nick


Oh, and WAHAAAY! 3000 Posts!

Congratulations!

I'm with the "less is more" crowd...you don't have to do something just 'cos you can..

Personally I always skip "flash" intro's, but at least there's an option to skip it...then I hate it when the rest of the site is the same

I really like "bluerobot" but consider "glish" to be bloggish, but it's a matter of taste really.

Suzy

9:31 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Blog Style, as I define it for myself is a banner up top (ususally with a goofy graphic, a blurred graphic, etc.) with the name of the site to the left of the banner. Often you see the content divided up into one to three columns, with each column enclosed in a box, sometimes dashed lines. The pose that struck is minimalist, but to me it looks like a meyerweb.com knockoff.

Is minimalist design played out? No.

It's just harder to do than most people imagine. Like writing a haiku.

9:33 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Right, thanks. I'll go check out young Erics page and make sure I do it different ;)

Cheers!

Nick

10:26 pm on Mar 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Ok 2 things for u Nick

1. Use proprietary IE transitions from page to page. people LOVE those. (sarcasm)

2. Simple design, sure. You can still have cool stuff. I personally *do* like snazzy CSS effects. As long as they are unobtrusive and are logically operated, I love that stuff.

Hey if this is for designers, u are going to have to prove u can do some top notch stuff, right? So that is going to force you to tell people: this page only displays in MOzilla 1.3 (then u can use those rounded divs!) hehe, and other cool hover effects. (and opera?)

4:54 pm on Mar 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Maybe position:fixed? ;)
5:03 pm on Mar 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Nick,

Whatever you do, if you need 'site requirements' and 'best experienced with' blurbs, well, then you know you've failed.

Jim

5:15 pm on Mar 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Whatever you do, if you need 'site requirements' and 'best experienced with' blurbs, well, then you know you've failed.

If for the site as a whole, then yes. But if there's a page displaying some advanced CSS3 thingy that is only supported in recent browsers, then that's not a failure at all!

Who wants to visit a site that supports only IE/NN4 compliant styles? Hardly gives a professional feel, does it?

5:24 pm on Mar 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>best experienced with

Actually I was thinking of putting in: "Best veiwed with your prefered browser"

I saw that somewhere and thought it was kinda cute.

Seriously, going by the content I'm content to go no lower than IE5.5 and it really only has to be 'useable' and not too shabby in that. It certainly doesn't have to be perfect.

Nick

6:39 pm on Mar 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>>"Best veiwed with your prefered browser"

Yeah, I quite like those. There's one that says "best viewed with.......a PC" :)

On the design front I really like "CSS tricks". If you build a site with 'layers' from the content up, adding more fancy stuff, while keeping compatibility etc. you can keep playing with funky rollovers and so on until you hit on a good balance. Although I have gone a bit 'dhtml menu' recently...

Also I think 'web savvy' visitors are a pretty varied group. I might be looking at your site with a handheld PC, for example, so IMO it still needs to work well at the most basic (plain text?) level.

9:10 pm on Mar 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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DrDoc,

Who wants to visit a site that supports only IE/NN4 compliant styles? Hardly gives a professional feel, does it?

Didn't mean to imply that a site should *only* be accessible in older browsers. If you have new tools and know how to use them but all means show them off.

But any halfway good design should allow for "graceful degradation" (or at least a redirect to compatible pages) so visitors can still get the information they need.

Nick,

...going by the content I'm content...

Hmmm. Cute.

Jim