Archive: April 16th, 2005

Transparent liquid

Good design doesn’t draw attention to itself. Really good design is invisible.

Sometimes, really good design can go unrecognised precisely because of its transparency.

In the field of the web design, there is a tendency to laud good visual design. This isn’t always the measure of a successful overall design. But it’s a lot harder to quantify a design that enhances user experience. It’s difficult to award designs to sites that “just feel right”.

Occasionally though, it’s possible to pinpoint the little details that form part of an overall design strategy.

Just recently, I found myself at the site of Cody Lindley. I had visited the site many times before. I’ve always found the site very pleasing but it was only on my most recent visit that I noticed that the site sported a liquid layout. The fluid design was so well executed that I had never noticed it before. Its transparency is a testament to its success.

I was chatting with Sergio. He told me something that I took as a great compliment. He was at my site and noticed for the first time that I was using a liquid layout. I felt warm glow of pride (I guess he noticed I was using a liquid layout because I keep harping on about the subject).

I mentioned my recent similar experience. I also mentioned that I only recently noticed that Jason’s site uses a liquid layout. Sergio hadn’t noticed that either (I believe his exact words were “Jason’s liquid??? wtf!!!”).

Jason’s site successfully combines the visible (gorgeous visual design) with the not-so-visible (a usable liquid layout). I wish there were more examples of that.

I’m putting together a little folder of bookmarks to store sites that are designed beautifully and fluidly (Ethan, Cameron… you guys are in there too). Maybe I’ll turn it into a Stylegala-esque showcase.

SxSWi: Ride It Till The Wheels Come Off (Again!)

James McNally has written a great round-up of this year's South by SouthWest over on Digital Web.