Consistency in Inconsistency

They say that websites should retain a constant look and feel, that they should have a flow that users recognize, that they should never change drastically so that the user does not know how to use the site. I realize this. I recognize it. I revere it as true insight. Yet I just can’t seem to follow it, in fact, I’m not so sure that I actually want to.

I’m a web developer, and I like new design. I like new technology. It’s my curse as a technophile. I can’t stand seeing the same design on my site for any long period of time. I’ve noticed it lasts about 3 months before it starts to wear on me and I want a big change. I spend another month or two berating myself about changing it, reminding myself about all the reasons I shouldn’t… then I give in and spend another month or so designing something new. Essentially, my design changes at least twice a year. I don’t think that’s terrible, considering that half the year I spend bored by the look and wanting something different.

Well, that time has been approaching steadily again, and I’m definitely in need of another change. I tried, I really did try, to make my main site have a consistent look to this one… but I just stopped partway through tweaking it because I realized that it wasn’t what I wanted at all. On my main site I want something clean and open with lots of white space. On this blog I prefer… well, yes I suppose blunt is the best way, I tend to lean toward a rather cluttered look.

So I think I’m going to stop trying to make them the same. I’m tired of doing that, I’m just going to make them more distinctly different as they used to be. My main site is for my actual things that are working… my blog is for all those random thoughts and ideas that strike me in the late nights. They are different, they are distinct. Yet… even if I give them distinctly different looks, I am still going to grow bored with that look after a short period of time.

Therefore, I’ve decided to cultivate some of the essence of Website Style and do something different. Instead of trying to keep a consistent look, I’m going to work on keeping the design inconsistent so that people will always be surprised. Now, here’s the other thing… I spend a lot of time writing and designing things for other people, and I tend to always run out of time to design for myself. I have a solution that will work all around. I see lots of designs all the time in my work, and this gives me the chance to do something fun with it. I’m going to pick a different designer every time I redesign, I’ll use their design, maybe tweak it out a bit, and highlight their work and their site each time. Maybe, in that way, highlighting a new ‘style’ a few times a year will bring me closer to feeling like I’m living up to the concept of ‘Website Style’ rather than speaking only about CSS. We’ll see – for now I’m working on picking new designs.

~Nicole

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