I wanted a site that was fast, minimalist, simple and focussed on the content. So I designed a web site with sidebars, navigation bars, more navigation in the footer, and lots of graphic elements. It looked great. But it was neither fast, nor simple and the content was hard to find. So, I redesigned it.
I wanted the site to bring up the chosen page very quickly, especially since my hosting provider is not the speediest of all. The original design was slowed by having to load lots of graphic elements, and then laying them out. To get it fast, I removed all graphic elements except for the masthead logo and used CSS for all layout and design.
This works great for Safari and Firefox, but the site looks a tad boring on Internet Explorer. Maybe one day, Microsoft will bring IE up to scratch on CSS.
I wanted the site to focus the user on the content and to minimize any distractions. Look at any news web page these days and you have to go searching for the content within the advertisements, links, navigation elements, flash files, tabs and menus.
So I took out almost all the navigation. There’s a link home, for people who still have not figured out that clicking a site logo usually takes you to the home page and a blog link. That is all that distracts at the top of the page. I will add the products link there as soon as I create the first product. All other navigation is relegated to small links in the footer, out of the way, giving the site a nice minimal look.
Not only do I want the site to focus on content, I want to do so myself. So I kept the CSS simple, decided to make all pages minimal and chose to install a blogging tool (WordPress) to run the blog instead of making my own. I also love using MarsEdit to write, so installing the blogging tool was a given.
The theme of the site was easily converted to the blogging platform, since its just plain old CSS. I just removed all the extraneous sidebar and footer action in the default blog template, added my DIV’s and here it is.
Focus on Content
I wanted the eye to jump straight to the article and I wanted the bounds of the article to be easily visible. That is why the article is placed on a white background, and all other colors are kept neutral on the page. I am hoping this design works, but will need to run the site for some time before knowing the answer.
The current design was finally achieved through the magic of CSS, muted colors, minimalist thinking, a few iterations and a lot of fun. I believe its as fast as needed, minimalist enough so that the focus is maintained, simple for me to use and for you to view, and the content just jumps out.
Enough designing, time to start writing.