Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Flat=Bad, Depth=Good

Somewhere up in the Gateway city, there are instructors at a College who are thrilled that I'm getting a chance to use the graphic design diploma I slaved so hard to get 15 years ago.

I spent part of the weekend and all of yesterday re-designing our standard e-learning background and interface because, frankly, I wasn't happy with the one we had whipped up. Now that I think about it, it was a little dull and awfully PowerPoint-like. Strangely enough, I went through this same process of revisions when I was designing the logo and look and feel for my consulting business and its web site. My initial design was flat and "okay" but subsequent revisions and ideas got me to a more 3-D look that almost "leaps" from the screen. That's kinda what I have going now. This might not be a big leap for some, but I'm feeling like what we have now is a bit more polished and 'professional'.

So there's my "lesson learned" for this week: add some depth and some subtle 3-D effects to your interface and you move away from the "slide show" kind of content and towards a more multi-media kind of effect.

Lesson #2: Interactive buttons are a bitch to create (mouseup, mouseover, mousedown, etc.), but well worth the effort at the end.

I had to do a bit of an end-run around the design process and use some of my own software tools to accomplish this end, but I think the result is worth it. We now have a new background, with a bit more "real estate" to work in, and a nice, slick bottom navigation "console" with a new suite of buttons and controls.

I look at it this way: if I can get professional-looking content developed entirely in-house, that has to be a winner somewhere...

No comments: