Web design lessons from a developer

First of all let it be known that I am not a web designer.

I’m a software developer/entrepreneur enjoying the hard work of launching a new web application — Service Sidekick. Like many developers working at a startup I wear many hats. Actually, to be truthful I wear all the hats. And the one that always gave me a nervous twitch was the big sombrero of web design. Sure I’ve dabbled in CSS enough to know about descendant selectors and clearing IE floats. Of course I’ve read Dan Cederholm’s masterful Bulletproof Web Design and subscribe to over a dozen web design blogs. Yet I had never dabbled in the gray scales and gradients of Photoshop.

So why was I so worried about making the web design interesting enough to lure in potential clients. Maybe it was because I had a premonition of the disastrous first iteration of the home page.

Old home page

Old home page

Wow… that’s one ugly home page! Hideous in fact. I was trying too hard for simplicity and forgot to give content and life to the page. Yet I learned a ton about web design through the redesign of just this one page.

I learned that simplicity is not an end in itself. That is to say it is not valuable on it’s own — at least as far as web design is concerned. A blank sheet of paper is simple but not meaningful. The power of simple design comes with presenting meaningful content in a clear, easily digestible way.

That was the major mistake I made in the first iteration. I strived for simplicity to such extreme that the page was left content starved. The page simply did a poor job of presenting a quick overview of the product that would entice the user to take the next step of watching the video or signing up for a free account.

So enough of the old — what about the new revision?

In short, the new revision pulls together much more product information on the home page yet remains clean and functional. There are a few things left to tighten up but overall I this this revision is a big step forward.

New home page

Old home page

Your thoughts?

Comment or question via
FYI: This post was migrated over from another blogging engine. If you encounter any issues please let me know on . Thanks.