Ruthless evaluation: The designer’s kryptonite

Having designed, produced, and reviewed the first version of a home page for my website with temporary assets (such as fonts and images) in place, I began to evaluate it in terms of areas to improve in; what to keep, what to change, and what to add. And, sure enough there were issues I had to address. To begin with, I quickly found that the composition was quite uncomfortable – particularly with the size of the buttons in the navigation bar as well as the banner on the left which I wanted to keep – but perhaps implement differently. The design felt cluttered and confusing on account of the way that elements were arranged. The oversized header area takes up the whole viewport until the user begins to scroll, which does offer a useful and desirable output for featured content to be displayed, accessible at a glance, but at the expense of the site feeling cluttered when main body content is introduced onto the same page.

Splash page draft Splash page draft

Problem solving

In order to solve these issues there were different routes I could take. The header area could be significantly reduced in size and prominence, taking up less space and offering a cleaner overall design to the page. This has the drawback of removing the showcase area of the site however, which is a design move I would prefer not to make on account of the website’s nature (a showcase). The alternative which I decided to follow and begin to produce in my second version of the site was to have a separate splash page that would act as the landing/home page of the site, showing any news and updates as well as featured work, with links to the rest of the site and a brief banner as seen in the current version. This has the benefit of a zero-click access to the most important information on the site for the user, as well as the ability to make good use of the power first impressions can have on the user. Additionally, splash pages are popular in many design portfolios currently, and by incorporating this design trend with functionality as opposed to just incorporating it by principle of it being a trend, shows modernity and functional design in the site.

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