It’s been almost a month since I published my first post and I feel the heat turning up a little bit on my ass.
Great! Seems like my idea is working. My new site should be out and about on all the internets, very soon.
Andy Clarke’s book, and Dan Davies’ experiments with web layouts, irked me to try different layouts and scratch an itch I’ve been having for a while. I love to look at and read visual essays (for the lack of a better term)—sites that use the plethora of the web’s freeform vocabulary and experiment with layouts. These layouts, when driven solely by the content, can prove to be excellent narrative devices. And thanks to CSS Grid and Flexbox, pure magazine-style, art-directed layouts aren’t unachievable on the web today.
Great visual essays make me want to read. They make me smile. And they remind me about the web’s essence. Here’s a lovely quote from one such brilliant visual essay, The Web’s Grain:
I believe every material has a grain, including the web. But this assumption flies in the face of our expectations for technology. Too often, the internet is cast as a wide-open, infinitely malleable material. We expect technology to help us overcome limitations, not produce more of them. In spite of those promises, we typically yield consistent design results.
Going off from that, I wanted to mirror some of those ideas for case studies of my projects. Case studies on the web these days (especially UX case studies) are getting more and more verbose, hard to skim through and very wordy and intimidating at times. Great insights sometimes don’t get communicated because of an overly simplistic and uninspiring design.
Paragraphs of text aren’t the only thing we can build on the web—so why are we treating case studies just like a huge essay? Instead of just scrolling through plain text like reading a book, why not use the tools at our disposal to make something more immersive, simpler and communicative?
For my new website, I want to experiment with some layout options and see what kind of content suits what kind of format. I also believe if a certain format works for a UX case study, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for a branding project.
Right now, I’m experimenting with simple shapes and lines (because I don’t know anything fancy), but I firmly believe that if used well, just shapes and lines are enough to do the trick. Wish me luck!
Thanks for reading this, whoever you are.
If you found this delightfully weird, or weirdly delightful, I’d love to hear why: @helloprabhav