I’m working on a site, not totally sure what I’m going to put on it yet but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. Here’s my current layout design, it’s going to be total CSS/XHTML based. Nearly no images, so speedy load times. Users will be able to submit their own styles, which (upon approval) can be used to view the site. The sublink bar will change depending on what page your viewing/what nav button your mouse is over.
I like the layout - very clean. The only thing that catches my attention is the colors. I’m not really good at picking out colors that go well together, but something tells me that the red doesn’t fit in with those other colors. The cyan color at the bottom fits well. Also, the yellow in the top nav bar.
I like the limited images concept. Quick load times are something nice that just adds to the feel that this is an efficient site. It doesn’t really matter for the broadband people that only notice if things are slow… but it is noce anyway.
I can see what you mean by the red, so I tried lightening it a little bit more.
Here’s the latest version, I lightened up the back a bit.
Great job of your website — it looks extremely organized. However, I do have some advice. Instead of listing the items that could be improved-- I quickly made the edits to your original image, but did not include some of the original text. Since I created them very fast, they are lacking final touches - not perfect. Here they are:
I hope this helps! Good Luck!
I can see what you’re going for in simplicity and all, but I think some images might help. Some small gif buttons or something wouldn’t take up much bandwidth or server resources.
I view the current design as a hate it or love it type of thing. For those who love this sort of thing, you have done a great job.
I gotta confess that I had a lot of trouble with website design. I think that with an engineering background, I was pretty good at organizing data, but presentation is another matter. The fundamental idea of a website being very square and rigid has a lot of great applications.
I have one question and a seperate thought for you:
You want a clean design with few graphics so that the page loads quickly. This is always the ideal, but many small graphics can add curves and smooth out an otherwise boxy website. Is slow bandwidth for your audience a truly terrible plight? Would adding 100k of graphics ruin their experience to your website?
Unify a color scheme.
I noticed that you have 5 contrasting colors. If you take a look at many websites, they typically have some sort of a unified color scheme. Colors can be used to relay important information or direct the users attention, but using a rainbow is sometimes distracting and could leave users overwhelmed.
Here are a couple of websites that make descent use of color themes, and illustrate my point, some are obviously better than others.
Anyway, pick some colors that seem to go well together and pick a scheme, then organize the information well.
Also, I can recommend a great book that I think evey web designer should own: Don’t Make Me Think! It’s not so much on design, but helping designers understand how people use webpages. VERY insightful and highly recommended.