If you regularly use the internet, you have probably noticed an increase of smooth animations and functionality within forms, navigation menus, photo galleries and all sorts of other widgets. These lightweight, browser-compatible scripts are quickly becoming a great alternative to Flash media. They often come pre-built and can be flexibly styled to accommodate the look and feel of any website. Here’s a simple example of an image slider. Try clicking the arrows on each side to see the images cycle.
When it comes to implementing something slick like one of these scripts, many people tend to overuse it’s capabilities in order add an unnecessary fanciness to their website. Often times, this overuse actually inhibits usability rather than improving it.
These scripts should never be added for strictly aesthetic purposes. Before I add any sort of this functionality, I try to identify the problem and how it could logically be solved. After all, a website’s functionality needs to be intuitive and straight-forward to the end user. Once I figure out what the most ideal solution is, I find, modify or build a script based on that solution.
As a graphic designer, focusing on visual aesthetics is just one part of the creative process. Before the design is even started, the message, target audience, and desired functionality and