those minuscule details

polish them or not?

It is tempting to go over every little detail in a design, and fine-tune and “polish” them down to the last screen-pixel.
May make for an OK pass-time activity, but I'm not sure how much there is to gain by such improve­ments, or if indeed they are improve­ments.

The answer, as always, is that “it depends” … mainly on what one wants to achieve.

improving visitors' experience

Some like it rough and square, some like it soft and curvy, some like it plain and light, and some like it colorized and crowded. Also, when it comes to web designs a large number of visitors simply don't care – especially not about details.

Right, visitors' pre­fer­ences are all over the place, and there is no way to please them all with one design. So, one may as well start by picking a target-group, and try to figure out how to make as many as possible of them feel welcome enough to engage in what­ever the site is about.

Marketing of products does in itself set the direction a design must go, as it doesn't make much sense to tailor a design for one group while trying to sell products to another. Clear and simple messages work best, in design as well as content.

When it comes to those pesky details, not having too many in view is at least as important as making each of them look just right in context. Certainly doesn't hurt to bring out the erazer along with the pol­ish­ing cloth, as visitors to sites that sell stuff aren't there to look at design, but to decide whether, and if so what, to buy.

creating and selling an image

What image businesses, groups, and indi­vid­uals want to present via design, vary at least as much as visitors' pre­fer­ences. A common factor is that it rarely ever is about what is there, but rather about what one wants visitors to believe is there.

It is all about selling an image.

Presenting and promoting a brand is serious matters in the business world. Most businesses want more than any web design can deliver in sensible ways – espe­ci­ally on small screens. However, it's the same for all, so…

Regardless of whether it is presence only, or online sales, finding the best way to present products and/or services, must take precedence over all else. The “trick” is to remove as many distracting design ideas and elements as possible, and balance and polish what is left to fit the busi­ness profile and intended target.

On personal sites we have more freedom to design “wild”, but erazing unneces­sary and disturbing details usually works well for all sites. “Plain and simple” may not win many design prices, but they sure beat over­designed sites when it comes to delivering content to the public.

a web carpenter's opinion

The devil may be in the details, but there most certainly is something else there also: tiny pieces of ones own person­ality. Do we really want to polish our­self into some­thing unrec­og­niz­able?

A certain degree of “rawness” left in here and there, in both design details and content, may lift a page/​site above average by its authen­tic­ity. So, when looking at those details again, even though we can, maybe it isn't neces­sary to refine and polish them more.

The many years spent on web carpentry have taught me one thing: slight imper­fec­tions are like beauty-spots – they can make all the difference on the world wide web. Regardless of how perfect a visual design may appear, it risks not being recog­nized without those min­us­cule “spots”.

It is of course entirely possible to add well-placed “beauty-spots” later on, i.e. fake it, as in the real world. Authen­tic­ity may suffer, but who cares…

sincerely  georg; sign

Hageland 02.nov.2017
last rev: 12.sep.2020

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