Design Decisions: When to Stay Simple

Dec1108Dec 11, 08

When you're designing a system for end-users, there comes a point where you have to decide between bare-bones functionality and an outstanding but complex feature set. I've been conceptualizing a new photo gallery that would replace the existing gallery built into JMDWiki. The trouble I have run into with various designs is the requirement of playing the role of both a photo gallery and media manager. The current system has a few flaws related to long waits seen in Internet Explorer and Safari, which arose as a result of expanding the photo gallery over time without re-working the original code. After considering a couple of different ideas ranging from flick-scrolling semi-3D effects to literally no JavaScript at all, I decided a simplistic approach would be mutually beneficial users and content editors.

After choosing to go with a simplistic design, things are starting to come together nicely, along with the added bonus of a short development time. Reducing the time I spend on presentation-layer development will allow for an increased effort towards making the packaged default themes reflect the simplicity of the system, and hopefully increase overall visual appeal. Finally, if nothing else, it's been a nice break from the JavaScript intensity that is amoebaOS.

I would love to hear any comments you have, and what level of simplicity in design you prefer.

About Jason Miller:

I am a JavaScript developer from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. When I am not typing green code onto a black screen, you might find me at the nearest coffee pub checking out the brew. I run a internet firm called developIT and maintain blogs and web apps when I can.
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