Category Archives: Design

Leaving Kubrick

Since launching #if debug in November 2007, I have been using the default WordPress theme.

Initially I didn’t change the theme because I thought that it was sufficient and after not chaning it for so long – I had unfortunately become used to it. I have nothing against the default WordPress theme, but it is used on thousands of different blogs around the world and as a by product – gives the impression that the owner of the site doesn’t care a whole lot for their site.

Today I am changing that for good and I vow never to go back to the default WordPress theme again.

Hicksdesign Redesigns Without Any Fanfare

Jon Hicks, of Hicksdesign fame, has recently redesigned his unique and always creative web site and it appears to have gone unnoticed thus far.

Likes

  • The texture applied to the main circular logo, it makes it feel like a heavy weight cardboard
  • Fixed sidebar navigation, not unique but uncommon enough to make it interesting
  • Hickensian is on debut
  • That the little tree has still made its way into the design, even if it is in a less lavish nature

Dislikes

  • Compared to previous versions, the footer of the site now feels bare and unloved.

Overall I really like the new design, it is really different in style compared to previous versions of the site however still unmistakably Hicksdesign.

Web Design Faux Pas

Over the last three months, Queensland Teachers’ Credit Union have been rolling out a series of small changes to some of their online services. I first noticed the updates via their internet banking site when they removed the ability for you to login with only the keyboard – it now requires that the password is entered via the mouse and a ‘moving’ keyboard.

As a by product of recently rebuilding my home machine, I don’t have my bookmarks set up and needed to navigate to the Queensland Teachers’ Credit Union home page to find my way into their netbanking. Suffice to say, I was shocked when I was confronted by a welcome page. Apparently I missed the memo that said that welcome pages were an acceptable design decision for a web site. Not only is the welcome page poorly designed, the next page you’re presented with after clicking through isn’t a whole lot better. In my opinion, if Queensland Teachers’ Credit Union are set on having client testimonials on their site – they should remove the annoying welcome page and integrate them into the slightly better ‘home’ page.

Since the Queensland Teachers’ Credit Union are a financial institution, I would have expected that anything presented on their web site would have to go through many stages of checking and verification by various teams before it was published on their production site. If that were the case, I’m surprised that after the checking that the welcome page made it into product – I wonder who considered it to be a good design decision?

Spinning Subtraction

I recently wrote about a set of visualisations by Lokesh Dhakar that I thought were fantastic. While the visual representations of the coffee and baseball pitches were excellent, I really enjoyed the new design that Lokesh has put together. Without knowing any better, I would assume that he has taken inspiration for it from Subtraction; but the way that it has been bent and morphed is a really interesting spin on the exceptional grid based design of Khoi Vinh.

In March this year, Khoi put together a fantastic document for a presentation about designing with grids. The thing I like most about the document is that you can easily use it as a process for getting your site proportions correct. Tackling the visual design problem is something that a lot of people struggle with. In my particular case, I find it difficult as there are so many options available that I can never really decide on which combination of those options should be put together.

When I get around to putting my own design over top of this site, I think I’m going to re-read that document to see if I can develop a more cohesive and well balanced design out of it.