Looking at the top rated list of sites at Stylegala I was surprised to see that the highest rated site was only a 7.4 followed by a 7.0 and the third highest site can only manage a 6.7. Judging by the comments from the other CSS galleries I have a feeling that the same type of ratings would apply if these sites allowed ratings as well. Is this a case of designers just being too harsh or is there no such thing as a design that deserves even an eight? I think it’s just the fact that many of us have forgotten (or didn’t even know) what makes up a quality design.
Let’s have some fun and look at the comments for Garrett Dimon’s site and give our own Whitespace analysis to see if his 5.4 rating is justified (Garrett is a cool buddy of mine so I can handle him if he gets out of control). First I think a screenshot is in order:
Yeah, I know, he has probably one of the most beautiful splash pages around…wait, nevermind that is his site! Hehe, man am I funny. Back to all seriousness, the reviewer at Stylegala loves the minimalist design of the site.
Minimalist design at its best! While breaking away from your average two column, over-designed weblog, this one might surprise you with its sheer simplicity but it is, nevertheless, a gem in my book.
A bit harsh on the “over-designed weblog” statement, but the rest I can certainly agree with. My upcoming personal site follows a similar approach as Garrett’s site since I just want to write and not have to worry about the other stuff that bogs me down on my other sites. To properly rate this site I think you must look at both the aesthetics and functionality of it.
I think it’s a beautiful site because it epitomizes my philosophy on design. You get things done by keeping it simple. When you take into account the design elements set into place, making the site look ugly would be difficult.
The beauty lies within the color scheme of the site. The colors give the site an upbeat and cheery feel. When you are working with a white background, single-column site there isn’t that much room for design innovation, especially when your header consists of just text. But does that make the site any more uglier than say Oxton’s bad boy? I don’t think so.
Legible? Check. Easy to navigate? Check. The site is functional. A personal site with very few elements, so making it functional isn’t necessarily a difficult task, but the approach is different enough to warrant some attention.
In comparison you have Andy Clarke’s recent redesign that is currently averaging a 6.7 yet the headers are nearly impossible for me to read in Firefox. Andy is a good person and I have told him about the header issue so I am not publicly calling him out, but just wondering if the people who voted noticed this as well or are they simply looking at the pretty colors? (Editor’s note: it really is a kickass redesign)
So then I ask from a site design standpoint why is Garrett’s site a 5.0 in comparison to all the rest? Are we all just too harsh and creating a site that is above an 8 (god forbid we ever see a 10) is damn near impossible? I understand that the votes come from people who are looking at the graphical goodies that lie within a site so that can warrant a higher vote and if that is the case what sites rank highest on your list?