Chasing Your Tail

As we are getting deeper into web design principles and closer to the end of our introductory course, there are options in web construction that we need to consider. This is an interesting time in our development. We are currently coding and publishing our first sites using what we learned so far this semester — and I am beginning to dream in code — but as novices we are still so limited in what we can do. We want to design the perfectly beautiful prom dress, but only know how to sew the sash.

As we begin to look at elements (that we someday want to use, but are no where near ready), we have to consider their merits. There are so many amazing options available for web designers, but only so many that are effective. This week we are looking at carousels, and whether they are feasible and desirable.

Of course, as always, it depends on the purpose of the site. If a site is featuring products or ideas (like recipes, garden designs, and the like), a carousel is a great idea. It utilizes limited real estate to present material that might not otherwise fit the space, without making the user do a whole lot of work or search around for individual items.

If a client asked me to insert one into their site, I would look at the overall effectiveness and choose a design that works best. I like the one above because it gives you the option of presenting a combination of text and graphic elements to optimize the real estate. If photos dominated the site I might go with a design more like the one below.

Carousels do add an engaging experience for the user and effectively use limited space, but only if the purpose of the site warrants it. An interesting example is the Absolut Vodka website, with pros and cons. Check it out and see what you think.


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