Monday, April 10, 2006

website design inspiration?

In one of the web developer email discussion lists that I subscribe to, someone asked "What do you do for inspiration during a site re-design? what sites do you go to? do you have a list you could share?"

Sites mentioned thus far include:

CSS Play
Style Gala
Don't Meet Your Heroes
CSS Beauty
Web Pages That Suck

Someone mentioned that he goes to everything but web sites for inspiration. Another fellow proclaimed that he uses an old scrapbook of patches of color and material to inspire new design ideas.

Here's my contribution to the discussion:

I think we all have web sites we visit or vaguely recall, that influence us. Content quality, design, navigation, usability, credibility, frequent updating, relevance, astonishment...rarely are more than a few qualities exhibited in any one given site.

So I have one site that inspires me content-wise, another that is visually beautiful, another that has great, relevant functionalities, another that is simple and fast to use, etc.

Our greatest inspiration must come from users, not design theory or web aesthetics. Simplicity, ease of use, relevant content, frequent content, accurate content, reliable content, linked content, original content, scannable/skimmable content, behavioral familiarity, mission congruence, error recovery, logical navigation, enhanced interactivity, and extreme customization/user control configurations are all governed by user needs, limitations, and psychology.

Biggest inspiration should be this user reality: users are hurried, impatient, distracted, specific, hype-abhorent, aggressive, opinionated, peer-influenced, cynical, memory-impaired, anti-authoritarian, multitasking, and fickle.

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