Just because you can doesn’t mean you should, Ver. 1

Dear Reader:

Welcome to the first installment of what I hope becomes a regular occurrence on here — “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” — where we take a look at designs that are somehow excessive, over the top, or beautiful to a point being broken and unusable.

It’s an easy thing to do when you’re designing something – take every great idea you’ve ever had and slap them all together. But lots of good doesn’t equal great. For example, if you were to look at this from a nutritional perspective and spend a month eating only the yummiest most delicious treats you’d be one fat, sick, unhappy and smelly bastard 30 days latter. Did someone make a movie of that?

It seems almost to be common sense in a way — you can always have too much of a good thing — and yet so many websites these days seem to be fat, sick unhappy and smelly bastards. Let’s take a look at some examples…

1) Dear New York Times’s RSS page: Just because you can post the same RSS icon all over the place, doesn’t mean you should.

When I first took a look at this page, I thought “Ok, it’s cluttered, but I’m sure I can find what I want”. Then I scrolled down… OUCH! My eyes are in RSS icon purgatory!

2) Dear Andrei at Design by Fire: Just because you can add gradients to the edge of your page, doesn’t mean you should — it just makes your blog so damn hard to read.

I love this guy’s ideas – he’s always spot on about good design, and Design Eye is the coolest thing since taking Resses and making them into Resses pieces, but what’s up with his site? There’s this huge, frame-like, grey square on the bottom that has no content – all it does is take up space. And then there are these gradients on the top and bottom of the scrollable area, so that reading text on the edges of the page makes you squint like George Costanzia spotting raccoons.

That’s all the JBYCDMYS examples I have for today. If you’ve got any you’ve come across you’d like me to mention in the next one, please email me.

Peace, love, legibility,

– Ross