It has been very long since I last posted here, and even longer since I wrote about the great site re-invention project. But beyond laziness and procrastination, there has been another reason for my indecisiveness in this issue. The crux of the matter has been, how much re-invention should this re-invention involve?
To answer this question, it is necessary to revisit my reasons for setting up the original site, and what I plan to achieve with the new avatar. My original site was set up purely as a showcase of my work. The idea was to have a graphically impressive online presence which would act as an easily accessible portfolio for potential clients to see. This would allow me to further my freelancing activities. It succeeded to some extent in this regard, but as time passed I have come to realise that this old model was extremely one dimensional in its approach. What I want to do now is to have a more diverse site that is more representative of my diverse interests. Also, the old site gave no outlet to my urge to write, and hence had no involving content for the average viewer. The new site needs to be for all who are creatively inclined or interested, not just for those I want to sell my services to.
So, how much does the site need to change? Structurally, quite a lot as I have previously discussed. But does that mean I need to re-invent the visual aspect? With the initial fervour of wanting to change things, I was quite sure that this was an essential change, but with the wisdom that comes with active procrastination, I’m not that zealous any more. Besides, writing this blog was meant to help me in the process. As I have written these posts and thought and looked at my old site with increasing frequency, I have found that I like the way it looks. So, the question that begs to be asked is, why change something that you like?
The only possible reason for change is if something doesn’t work, and in the world of visual communication this is always debatable. While I like the colours and graphical identity of my original site, some of the page organization leaves a lot to be desired. Especially with a move towards more content, there is a need for clearer layout and navigation. Layouts will need to change to accommodate the nature of the new content, but what of readability? Conventional wisdom, carried over from the world of print, dictates that readability increases when dark text is placed on a highly contrasted light background, as compared to light text on a dark background. If that is true, the current visual identity of my site is in jeopardy as its very basis is a dark background. We must consider, however, that this rule came about partly because of ink bleeding and a loss of clarity when printing the black background around the negative white text. In the digital world, this problem doesn’t exist, and the readability of on-screen fonts is bettered with every passing day.
The technical reasons have been negated. All that remains to be satisfied are the questions regarding the perception of better readability of positive text over the negative variety. My personal feeling in the matter is that I actually prefer the negative variety of on-screen text when reading large bodies of text, because it is preferable to the ceaseless glare of a light background on a computer monitor. Reading a large article of black text on white background can be very strenuous on the eyes depending on the settings of your monitor. And then the settings which are kind to your eyes for reading are never the best for photographic or visual display. Thus, as a preliminary decision, it is safe to say that the dark background shouldn’t be too much of readability stumbling block. If a white background theme is required by some specific type of content (this blog for example), it should be possible to mould it into the larger visual identity of the site without sacrificing the white background.
The decision has been made. Re-invent the site content and structure, but only re-design the visual aspect to suit the new content and variety.
Now comes that minor inconvenience of implementing these high ideals, but all is possible with time and will.