I’ve really struggled designing (not developing…designing!) my own websites (this blog, Oikos Digital, etc) for two reasons:
- I’m really not a visual designer or an aesthetically minded person.
- A lot of design trends use lots of photography, and it’s really hard to use photography to portray what I do, particularly in my work.
So I’ve mostly just bailed on visuals and gone for simple layouts and focussed on the content.
It was interesting then to follow a link from the ChangeLog podcast’s blog about their use of Turbolinks to their main website and to spend some time browsing their (INSANELY FAST) website and realising that there are virtually no photos. There are some simple graphics, but NO PHOTOS. And the site looks and works great.
This, in the same week that Jeffery Way launched a re-designed Laracasts site which does actually have photos, but they’re pretty understated and the focus is on content and graphics, rather than photographic imagery. Laracasts is also pretty speedy.
I note that, as well as a lack of photos, neither of these sites have any social media integration: they have links to profiles, but there’s no sharing buttons or feed widgets.
Large photos and these social widgets and buttons are great for slowing your site down, and art direction/photo editing for images on responsive websites is really hard. I love how these sites have really gone to town and simplified and optimised things – not only using high-tech web development tricks, but also using higher level design decisions.
Perhaps “no photos” is an interesting design challenge for future projects.