I was looking through a piece from Flash Criminals blog titles “35 Most Creative Web Design Interfaces” featuring sites pulled from Deviant Art.
The visual artist in me adores these sites. They are incredible feats of digital artistry that right now I can only dream of ever coming close to achieving. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same appreciation for the combining of art and function in this manner. So, let’s look at these from different perspectives.
The benefits of such rampant creativity include a more stimulating web experience that fully engulfs the user in the site/business/art/whatever. The boxy, framey, logical, and stuffy layouts traditionally expected of user-friendly websites become only an option for users and designer/developers. Designers can showcase their abilities in new and unexpected ways, and make web surfers stop, look, and maybe even listen.
With such artistry, though, comes a certain amount of risk. Those “others” that don’t share my appreciation are instantly caught breathless and cannot find their back button quick enough. Visual over-stimulus in the site — and sight — may confuse users looking for something specific, may create too much noise to effectively convey what the site owner intends to convey – be it sales, service, portfolio, or anything else.
The best presentation would find a balance between creativity and usability. That is, they will still more or less achieve their vision in incredible, jaw-dropping artistry, but make the sites purpose and its functionality obvious to all users of all abilities. (I’m not even sure we want to start a discussion about the accessibility of such sites. Talk about a big risk!)