Information Density

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For the past two months, I've been working on a site which should be launching soon. My role on the three person team is user interface and graphic design.

Today I started reworking the site, based on comments from the alpha testers. These 11th hour changes aren't a little tweaking here and there, they are a full-blown "hey, nobody gets this; we need to really explain it better" mandate. As one of the team commented, our current site is good at the how-to, but not so good at why; we say "Shovel - hold by handle, thrust, lever, pull" but we need to be saying "Shovel - move dirt!"

So we reconsidered. We changed the language. We shifted focus from "flexible" to "narrowly defined." We added features. And if I have my way, we'll axe some features, too (though I haven't presented that to the team yet...).

Afterwards, I redesigned the front page of the site. It started out with 11 features. Now it has 12. But I think it is better organized and easier to understand. It also suits smaller laptop screens much better.

I color-coded the sections to highlight for myself where things moved to, what gained emphasis, where I had reduced or increased real estate. It's pretty to look at, even if you can't see the details underneath:


Doing this lets me see that I still have a few things to change. Based on the importance of the content, that reddish section in the lower right is probably too big; the blue area next to it needs more space.

But I will do that tomorrow. For now, sleep!

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