Redesign Step 1: Figuring Out What I Like

So, my computer is happy once more, and I have completed my tour of neat websites.

As with many things, sometimes I just like a website’s design without really thinking of specifically why I like said design. So, to make myself pay attention, I made a list of likes and dislikes as I websurfed the elite list, so I can integrate some specific ideas into my redesign.

My likes (and I apologize for not writing in layman’s terms):
+ a:hover / mouseOver background change on links
+ neat “ ‘s in blockquote backgrounds
+ little “about” blurbs in the sidebar
+ photographic mastheads with logomarks
+ cute little icons in front of post titles
+ kitsch. 50’s pics. retro fonts.
+ having the latest blog entry right up front
+ the ‘currently hearing‘ plugin
+ white (negative) space and an obvious focal point
+ partially opaque backgrounds for text
+ 5px borders on photos
+ logos with truncated letters (i.e. with the bottoms cut off)
+ simple, understated color palettes

My dislikes (or, things that seem chichéd or annoying):
+ centered layouts with patterned backgrounds on the sides
+ cute little icons in front of post titles
+ folder tabs
+ distressed-style graphics
+ overly large header graphics
+ cluttered teeny type
+ boxes with 45° cut-out corners

These are not, obviously, comprehensive lists of everything I like about every cool website, and I’m sure my likes and dislikes will change with time. They always do. After all, I once practically wet myself seeing this on an Apple Cinema Display, and now I just yawn and wonder if he’ll ever update his style.

On a similar note, I had an interesting conversation with one of my co-workers today. My partner in the duty rotation had mentioned that he’d been to college, so I asked what his degree was in. This opened up a floodgate of information—for which I was thankful, because it made me feel a little less… well, like a professional failure, to be blunt. Anyway, this guy graduated business college with an MIS degree, had a couple potentially super-cool second interviews, instead got a shitty job in his field away from home, quit and came back to NW Ohio. He ended up getting a temp gig at Sky to pay the bills (sounding familiar?), and accepted a permanent job when it was offered him, despite the fact that he would still be working outside of his field. Now he’s biding his time at Sky until he gets married in a month, and until his almost-wife gets her Master’s. Then he says he’s planning to go back to school (if it’ll help) and hopefully start a business with one particular friend/colleague of his.

He also shared with me that, after almost two years of not using his degree, he’s experiencing some… how did he put it? “Confidence issues.” I can completely relate to that. That’s actually one of the reasons I want to go in with Aaron sometime soon and get a video capture card for his computer—so I can edit video again. I’ve pretty much given up on catching up to the Flash wave. Director was fun to know, but no one uses it anymore. I can still design, though, and I hope I can still edit. I want to practice, and find out.

I shared with my co-worker that the main reason I’m not out job-hunting right now is that I’m waiting to become vested with my ESOP and Profit-Sharing conributions. My two-year anniversary is coming up in October, and then I’ll be 20% vested, I think. I’m not fully vested until I’ve been with the company for five years. But, considering how much Sky dumped into my 401(k) last quarter that isn’t really mine yet, I’ve got a pretty good incentive to stay on for another three years and some-odd months.

I just hope I can stay professionally competitive until then…