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26 December 2012 @ 10:03 pm
Web design is frustrating the hell out of me. Particularly, I expect, because it's what I used to do for a living, so I'm probably extra aggravated when presented with one of the two options:

1. incredibly beautiful designs that are not good at providing content
2. content-focused designs that are functional but not especially pretty

I want both, god damn it. I want a beautiful site that provides easy and intuitive content layout. And frankly, I was *never* good enough at the beautiful side of things, and these days I'm not good enough at the back end, either.

I *understand*, I really do. I understand the desire to make it pretty, and I understand that it's difficult, at best, to make lumps of text pretty, so featuring massive photographs as the main design element is completely comprehensible. But when you have site-name header followed by a navigation bar and a 500px tall image, you are taking up more than half of a large computer screen and the actual content is squished down at the bottom, more or less invisible. I don't *care* how pretty it is. It is not good design.

And I'm nowhere near good enough to make one that's pretty and functional, and I'm really sullen about it. :p

eta: I have done a mockup of what I want, so I now have a clear idea of what I'm after. It's equally clear I need to hire somebody to do it, because I simply do. not. have. the skills. So that's something, I guess. But not something to deal with tonight.
mikaela_l: pic#115610382mikaela_l on December 26th, 2012 10:12 pm (UTC)
I have heard good things about the Genesis framework for Wordpress. ( Ilona Andrews use it, as does Moira Rogers.) I haven't tried it myself, though :)
kitmizkit on December 27th, 2012 08:28 am (UTC)
Apparently it can be made to do what I want my site to do. I'm just not sure, at the moment, if I have the heart to try. *sigh*

(Er. That sounded ungrateful. What I meant was: thank you for the pointer, and it *does* seem that it can do what I want it to. But etc. :))

Edited at 2012-12-27 08:28 am (UTC)
jamileigh17jamileigh17 on December 26th, 2012 10:41 pm (UTC)
If it doesn't have to be done by the end of the month (Because I have about 3 things that need to be, none of which are yet), I can probably put one together for you. Pick some colors (and if you want specifics in mind, like vines, or stars, or whatever, that'd be handy to know) and how many columns you need (I lean towards 2, with the second being a thin navigation column/twitter feed, but not everyone likes that), and I'll see what I can do once the year rolls over. I have to make one for this blog project I'm doing anyway, so might as well do 2 at once.
kitmizkit on December 27th, 2012 09:27 am (UTC)
While I'd like it done by the end of the month, I don't really think that's going to happen. :) I'm still trying to figure out how I'm handling this, so I'll keep your offer in mind...
Chrysoulachrysoula on December 26th, 2012 11:47 pm (UTC)
I was very unhappy with the plethora of 'magazine' style designs that were all all all focused on images, because when writing and producing Nightlights I didn't have images. I eventually just left that part blank, with a broken image that few people noticed but drove me crazy, and then removed the whole shebang once the story was done. I still haven't found a good non-image-focused wordpress theme.

Then again, I don't put random pictures in blog posts either, and in fact that entire content design idea seemed to come by when I was home sick or something. You know, where you have random images grabbed from (I guess) a web search illustrating your blog post? Maybe with cute captions? I still find myself thinking, "But I don't have a license to display that image..."

kitmizkit on December 27th, 2012 08:31 am (UTC)
Is that how that image thing works? I had no idea. Yes, it seems very weird to do that to me, too...
(Deleted comment)
kitmizkit on December 27th, 2012 08:30 am (UTC)
In some ways it's easier than ever to maintain your own site, and in others...not so much. Heh. *hugs* :)
Patrick Samphirepsamphire on December 27th, 2012 10:53 am (UTC)
I think this is about the difference between decoration and design. Design is about solving a problem (in the case of writers, something like 'How do I sell more books?' or 'How do I build a community of fans?' or just 'How do I provide the basic info my readers are looking for') and decoration is, well, the pretties.

I think even those of us who are designers get seduced by the pretties and have to remind ourselves that the decoration should only be there to serve the design, not the other way around.

Anyway, I'm redesigning my own website right now, I keep going through the same issues. My first concepts always involve too much of the decoration, and I have to chuck it away and start from the content, then the design, then any decoration it needs.
?elsceetaria on December 27th, 2012 08:14 pm (UTC)
I can design a basic enough html or flash site (although anything beyond super basic will be very rusty for me by now), but I'm not good at making the really pretty ones. It frustrates me that my skills so not up to my vision.

One of the things my hodgepodge degree taught me was how to spot good organization of information in print or online. There are so many poorly designed sites out there some of which only need minor organizational changes to be good sites. Others need a complete overhaul.