As there are a number of facets to good web design and development, there are many facets to my professional goals, expertise and inspiration. I provide some insight to you on these in the following areas.
My Process and Background
Applying my Marketing degree, advertising experience together with technical skills to create something is, in a word, fun. There's nothing better than being able to really add value to a business, online or offline. By keeping my client’s strategic and business goals ‘top of mind’, I bring strategic marketing and targeted branding savvy to online experiences. Sound fancy? It's the combination of a little knowledge, experience and understanding—not all that dissimilar to common sense but is unfortunately rather uncommon.
My experience extends to a number of areas while managing, designing and developing client sites end-to-end. I have significant experience in a number of areas including:
- Website and user experience design
- User experience reviews
- Content managed website programming (Silverstripe, baby!)
- Information architecture
- Content Strategy
- Project management
- Requirements gathering
- Advertising & brand development
- Website accessibility
- Web standards
I have a strong passion for insightful user experiences. While my wife thinks my design aesthetic is stark, and others use the word 'minimalist', the truth is I like to see beauty in little things—so I think it's a bit more zen than anything else.
In fact, there's a Japanese design aesthetic and ideal called shibumi which almost perfectly encapsulates my appreciation and ongoing quest for elegant, simple & intuitive design.
If the internet is to be believed, the definition of shibumi is hard to pin down; I like to think of it as “the very best of everything and nothing all at once”—elegant simplicity, effortless effectiveness, understated excellence and beautiful imperfection. It might be hard to define, but when you see it, you know it.
Koko is about restraint, exclusion, and omission.
In practice: I try to refrain from adding what is not absolutely necessary in the first place.
The principle of Kanso emphasises that beauty and utility do not need to be overstated, overly decorative or fanciful. Instead it is fresh, clean and neat.
In practice: I work to streamline and eliminate what doesn’t matter, to provide focus to what is important.
The goal of Shizen is to strike a balance between being “of nature” yet distinct from it – to be viewed as being without pretence or artifice, while seeming intentional rather than accidental or haphazard.
In practice: Where possible I incorporate naturally occurring patterns and rhythms into designs where it makes sense.
Yugen captures the Zen view that precision and finiteness are at odds with nature, and that the power of suggestion is often stronger than that of full disclosure. Leaving something to the imagination piques our curiosity and can move us to action.
In practice: Where appropriate I aim to limit information, just enough to pique curiosity, and leave something to the imagination.
5. Imperfection and Asymmetry
The objective of Fukinsei is to convey the symmetry of the natural world through clearly asymmetrical and incomplete renderings. The effect is that the viewer supplies the missing symmetry and participates in the creative act.
In practice: This is a difficult one but it is about trying to leave room for others to co-create and ‘fill in the blanks’, providing an opportunity for open innovation.
6. Break from Routine
Datsuzoku signifies a certain reprieve from convention. When a well-worn pattern is broken, creativity and resourcefulness emerge.
In practice: During the creative process, I take the time to have an interruptive ‘break’. This is an important part of any breakthrough design.
7. Stillness and Tranquility
Seijaku deals with finding states of active calm, tranquillity and solitude during the creative process.
In Practice: I take time regularly during the creative process to reflect and think about the aesthetic and user experience to create a cohesive, simple and well-functioning design.
Although it is always challenging designing and working with each principle in mind, trying to design with shibumi in mind and adhere to the principles where it makes sense to do so helps me create cohesive, well-considered user experiences and designs.