(While working on a new about/contact page for this blog, I found myself needing to make some general comments on my web design/development philosophy. The relevant portions follow.)
The Yoga Instructor Registry (The YIR), a membership site built up from a simple WordPress installation, is my most recent web design and development project.
My other past and ongoing projects include professional, private, and e-commerce web sites mainly based on open source frameworks, especially OSCommerce and WordPress. My design philosophy is to keep things simple, not to aim for anything too slick and flashy, since slick and flashy gets old and even dysfunctional, and since some design trends seem more about designers showing off for clients than about a sensible relationship between means and aesthetic and intellectual ends. I like a human, or organic, or physical sense for a site, sometimes tending to skeuomorphism – erring on the side of familiar and user-friendly, especially with older and non-technologically inclined internet users in mind.
For literary projects, I think a good design is a design that you can stop thinking about, and that presents the content in a way that will not suffer loss of intelligibility and meaning if transferred to paper or some other site-independent format. On the other hand, web-specific functions especially in a desk or laptop rather than small-mobile (i.e., 5″ screen) context – with buttons to push and links to click – deserve to have dimensionality if they refer the user to a different kind of relationship than that of a reader.
Still, though I look forward to an eventual countertrend to flat-mobile-things, I do see a lot of blogs and other sites that could stand updating and customizing: There’s retro or conservative design, and then there’s ugly because no one had the frameworks, the code, and the bandwidth to get un-ugly. A small counter-trend or counter-wave, or return to the personal weblog as mode of self-expression in its own right, probably won’t and shouldn’t be a return to anybody’s blog ca. 2005.