Sunday 5 August 2007

Design: Eye candy or utility?

So, should design be for mere visual pleasure or should it have some utility? It’s a question that has been debated for ages.

I had been browsing through the net a couple of weeks ago .I was looking for some movie reviews on ‘Harry Potter and the order of the phoenix’ also about book reviews of ‘Deathly hallows’. During that I happened to visit the official website of Ms. J.K.Rowling.It’s a really innovative site designed by ‘light maker’. Nice one!!

What I particularly likedabout the site was that it had an air of mystery in it. That’s socharacteristic of Rowling’s epic series ‘Harry potter’. Just like her writing style her site too has quite a few surprises for the visitor. It was like exploring a different world – a magical world of J.K.Rowling.

Yes! It was magical indeed to stumble upon the navigational links which were hidden and strewn all over the site. One has to literally move the cursor over every other item on the page in search for rollover links. But inspite of being tedious it was thoroughly enjoyable and curious activity.

Done in flash, this site is highly interactive. One important thing – it has no scroll bar on the sides as well on the bottom! So you don’t have to scroll on and on (like mine!J) to read the content.It is very appealing visually too.


Actually …ummm… it illustrates the top view of Rowling’swriting table. It has a diary where she puts notes about her views and happenings. There is a calendar, a newspaper informing her forthcoming activities, there are toffee wrappers, eraser, sharpener, pencil, pen, a comb and I-Card, etc. (That’s quite innovative – reflects truly about a writer like her).Each of these is a link to different sections of the site. Intelligent designing!


So, what I wanted to demonstrate was that any work of design need not be conventionally perfect. It has to gel well with the theme. If it deals with mystery the design needs to have an element of mystery in presentation. I firmly believe that there should be a fine balance between appeal and usefulness. A design should serve some purpose besides being attractive and neat. Otherwise it would be just … another great blunder as I mentioned earlier.

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