Photo of Jamie & Lion

The personal site of Jamie Knight, an autistic web developer, speaker and mountain biker who is never seen far from his plush sidekick Lion. View the Archive

Topics: Autism Development

Welcome to V5.

Its up, your even looking at it. May I introduces v5. Secured By Lions

If you have been following this site for a while you will know that there is a pattern to the design refreshes and updates. Typically there will be a new design update (like this one) every year or so, and there will be refreshes or slights changes every 3-6 months. In this article I am going to talk about what I feel are the important choices I have made in this design and highlight some areas which I think requires some explanation.

Is it a cloud?

The design of this site has been evolving for quite a while, anyone who is unfortunate enough to be on my MSN buddy list will have been berated with various designs and asked what they hate. For this design I took what worked from the previous designs and mixed them up with some goals.

I will talk about the goals in more detail later. But for now I will sum up what the design had to do. It had to: Be easy to read, Reflect my personality and be distinctive. So how does this relate to the “cloud� Look?

The cloud part is representative of me or my world. As most people know I have autism, and I often find that “my world� is different to most peoples. This world tends to be away from the world and in this design it is represented by the big cloud which contains all the content.

If you think about going from the top to the bottom. First you have the large sectional links, these are outside of the cloud and provides links to organise it for the visitor. Below this is the introduction to the site and myself. This parts acts as the link between the outside and the inside, and it of course is guarded by Lion.

At the very bottom are a few of the things which are important to me. I will let you deicide what they mean.

Links and usability

One of the goals of this side was readability, to me this also relates to ease of use. Part of this was how to identify links to other places of the site and how to communicate this to the user.

When thinking about this, I thought of two things, and how or why they work together. Before you can use a link I have to identify it as one to you. To do this I am using text colour and feedback. Inside the content area of the site (my world) all links are in one colour. The aim is that this colour become associated with links by the user and they know what to expect. This is a good start but something is missing. The user needs some form feedback to confirm that this is a link . My method for this is to change the colour of the text and the colour of the texts background. More specifically the text colour changes back to the default, but the background changes giving the feedback for the user to be able to confirm it is a link. People have commented that this helps the ease of use, and in turn the readability.

Be easy to read.

I have a problem with my writing, I find it hard to keep things short! So if I want this content to be useful to people it has to be readable. There are a couple of factors which I have taken into consideration when designing for readability.

In this design I have a consistent structure. This is important because while reading an article I don’t want to distract the reader away from the content. The text sites in its column and the column has a clear space between it and the rest of the content. I am also using a lot of space between the lines, this helps to stop the text from merging and brings some definition to each line of text.

Be distinctive.

I like to think of myself as a pretty distinctive person, for this site I wanted to do something which reflected this distinctiveness and was original.

The inspiration for the design came form a number of places, examples include some of the excellent Skype Branding , Vector illustrations on deviantart and even my own attempts to recreate them . Mixing this inspiration with the things I have learnt from the many design experiments I have created my new site and (hopefully) achieved some of my goals.

So with all that said, what do you think of this version? Do you find the link text easy to use, what are your thoughts on the design?

Published: 11 December 2007 | Categories: , Permalink


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