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 doesn'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…
last rev: 02.nov.2017