In Jeff Croft’s entry, Five things I’m doing to get better at web design, I came across an excellent point that I know we are going to be doing more of in the future of 9rules and that is designing pages and not templates. Jeff stats
Somewhat relatedly, I often find myself lamenting the fact that web sites are so incredibly templated. On most sites, nearly every page uses the same basic layout. We rarely design pages — we design templates. Those templates then get applied to lots of pages. On most sites, this is necessary for practical purposes. I find it limiting. When we run a feature in Sunday’s paper and it’s got a beautifully done custom layout that totally fits the story, and then I see that online it’s running in the same template as everything else, it really makes me want to cry.
Now this doesn’t mean that every single page we create (ex. blog entry) needs to have a custom layout, but whenever a new section of your site is being planned think can it be better served with a different layout. Yes, this might challenge the brain a bit more, but I find that being challenged when it comes to IA and design is when the real fun begins. However, don’t create new layouts just to create new layouts.
When I think of sites that take it upon themselves to practice this method the first site that comes to mind is Apple. Take a look at these pages:
No two are alike yet they all represent Apple products and all are within the Apple domain. What’s interesting though is that they actually serve a purpose and don’t break the flow of the site. They aren’t different just to be different. They are different because they each contain different types of information and therefore didn’t layouts work for each one.
Now I wouldn’t get too excited and try to figure out new ways to go about designing your blog because blogs aren’t deep enough in my opinion to warrant 3-4 separate layouts for pages. However, if your blog is more of a website (I know these terms start to get confusing) then sure have a go at examining each page and figuring out what works best for it.