I think one very relevant issue that we have faced with our digital project is the website design. We were always at block heads about it since our project revolves around blogging a story about an Indian girl and her path to self discovery, but at the same time acts as a website to discover new recipes. We weren’t always sure if the design should be more commercial or creative on a personal basis.
We have always read that a good website design isn’t something that just looks appealing to the eye but also something that enhances performance, astonishes the audience and is equally amazing with functionality.
“A good design is always the simplest possible working solution.” – Anders Toxboe
Eventually, we turned to the internet to research what the professionals think. From what I found, I have compiled a list here of everything we had to keep in mind while developing our website. This list has been taken from various resources, all referenced below.
- It needs to be functional
- Appealing to the eye, so bring out the creative thinking hats
- Intuitive – basically explains itself and isn’t very complicated for the users
- Long-lasting – don’t use elements which you think will go out of style like blinking lights
- Unobstrusive – Make it self indulgent but leave some space for the user to form an expression as well
- It needs to be thought through to the last detail
- Focused on the product and not the design itself
- As simple as possible
- Use of whitespace – Negative Space or whitespace is the empty space on your website. You want to give just the right amount of this to make your website less cluttered as well as aesthetically beautiful. An average of 30% is generally good.
Apart from focusing on the look, other aesthetics that we should be looking at included page layout, colours we used (apparently, every colour brings out a reaction, which is something you want to be careful with as a lot of that may depend on someone giving your website a real look through) as well as font and contrast of all the elements together.
Though these were all really good to start work on, it still didn’t solve our problem of going more creative like a personal site or more conservative like a commercial one. So, we started looking up examples of similar websites/blogs out there. Using my RSS feed, I found some examples:
These were some more relevant to our theme, and if you notice they all have a very commercial, kind of free, almost boring designs. I started thinking, and I knew that this is definitely not what we are looking for because these sites didn’t really engage me or give me a feel good factor to stay on them long enough. They lacked personality. These were just recipe sites and I couldn’t really muster any care for the stories behind them. But then, talking to my cousin, I came across one she suggested. It was her own site and she owns a restaurant in India that she used this website to promote. She has a lot of followers and they love her.
I absolutely loved it because it really brought out her quirky personality and I had a great time reading through it. It was perfect and my research came to an end here. Now, this website doesn’t really follow all the rules that I listed above, just the important ones and I decided that when it comes to aesthetics there are no real rules that you have to stick to, just some logic mixed with a little bit of design and fun can do the trick.
We made our website keeping functionality in mind but the biggest trick I believe that we discovered was to be honest and to put in a little bit of us into it. Aesthetically wrong? I don’t think so.