“What do you mean it won’t look right?
But it looks great on that [insert noun]!”
As someone who has been in software development and website design for over 15 years this is something I’ve heard more times than I would have liked.
Let’s keep user interface design, user experience and/or web site design patterns out of the conversation for right now. We’ll talk about something most everyone has some level of familiarity with…cars. Pictured above is a 1953 Willys Jeep. It’s pretty obvious that it’s not stock, the 19″ chrome wheels make that easy to see. The Jeep itself is nice considering the age; it has fresh paint, new seats, shiny chrome parts and again some blingin’ 19″ chrome wheels. If all these things are “nice” then why did I open this post the way I did? Because some of the elements used in building this Jeep just don’t go together and this is something I, as a designer, address with clients from time to time.
When I saw this Jeep as I was driving down the road alone I actually laughed out loud. I was taken back by the very odd combination of those huge chrome wheels and low profile tires on that Willys. It’s not even so much the size, or the style, it’s that they just don’t “fit”.
When I think of a Willys Jeep I picture something like this:
You have to consider the time period and purpose for which this vehicle was built. When put into that context the Willys was an amazing vehicle. So much so that it, and the Jeeps that came after it, were used in military service for decades! This vehicle was rugged, versatile, maneuverable and easy to repair.
So what does all this have to do software development, web design or even graphic design? It reinforces the fact that just because something looks good “over there” doesn’t mean it will look good “over here”. More specifically, what works on another web site might not work so well on yours; that “aqua” style button made famous by Apple might not look so good on your South Western Vacations site. Instead you want to ensure that the colors, the textures and the style you apply to the target canvas are appropriate, relevant and help meet the project’s defined goals.
This would be an example of applying “proper” customization.
When we build solutions for our clients we go out of our way to understand their product/service as well as the demographics of the people they sell/provide services to. We get to know the businesses culture and personality. We consider existing brand recognition. We take all of these points into consideration so that we can create the best, most appropriate design possible. After all, the last thing we want to do is put 19″ chrome wheels and low profile tires on a 1953 Willys Jeep.
Vigsbo Solutions Blog
My blog is a happy mix of technical and personal posts. I write about the technology I use, about new technology as it relates to me as a technology company as well as to my clients.
I offer my opinions on new trends in the business, I talk about things I have learned and things I want to learn, I share my likes and dislikes and I throw in some personal anecdotes from time to time.
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