A Gentle Lift
I've been theming a new website this week and was explaining my approach to the general aesthetic presentation of a site to my client. She seemed to find what I said interesting and helpful, so I decided to blog it here. First of all, when I say 'theming', I mean that I am building the aesthetic presentation for the site: the colors, fonts, background colors and textures, graphic design elements. In other words, the way the site looks. My biggest influence in doing this work is not a web or graphic designer at all, but my dear Friend, Christine O'Brien. Christine was a visual artist and also a person who was keenly aware of the aesthetics of her surroundings. For her, taking care of aesthetics was a way of showing love. Her home, Lizard Hall, in Gulfport Florida was a delight to visit. Using color, light, simple objects and imagination, she created a welcoming space that fostered a sense of creativity, good will, and peacefulness. She once explained to me, "When you step into a room you should get a gentle lift." That made a big impression on me and has become what I am for when theming a site. I break it down into a set of criteria:
- Clean, uncluttered layout
- Textures and colors that are pleasing to the eye and enhance the message of the site rather than distract from it
- Harmony among the colors, fonts and graphics
- Welcoming to visitors, with easy, intuitive navigation and easy to read text
How do I know when I've achieved the 'Gentle Lift'? One thing I do is step out of the room and back in again. I leave the site I'm working on and then pop back in. Do I feel that gentle lift myself? Does the site make my eyes happy? Then I ask the owner of the site to get involved, since what is pleasing to me might not be pleasing to everyone.