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Balancing Design and Usability

Mon Jul 23, 2007 3:59 pm
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At Christonium we are trying to give users as much control over their experience as possible and that extends into the design of their account. We offer users the possibility to extensively control various elements of their desktop and the design down to the background color, the font, the font color, the font size etc… This allows anyone to really play around with colors and themes and create something truly unique.

Other networks out there offer more limited control over the appearance of users accounts, whether they give a choice of various design templates, or a choice of base colors. It makes sense why some networks choose to only offer users a selective design choice, then they ensure that all accounts will look put together and follow their standards.

It’s a fine line to draw – how much control does the website need to retain in order to ensure some level of consistency? You wish to give users as much flexibility as possible while you also want to make sure that all accounts are actually readable and presentable. Does a perfect design exist? For a program to be usable and clear, its design needs to relatively clean and not too flashy, while the actual layout and structure needs to be clear and focus on certain areas of importance.

Some networks take the other route, by offering complete control over design where users can upload their own css files and actually control the code design of their “sites.” We think that kind of control can bring more confusion then anything and most people will find it too complicated to implement their own code. One of the key factors that we want to ensure is to make it easy for users to design their accounts without any programming or design skills, and still make it look great and unique.

Lately we have been working on various design elements of the program that we hope to implement in the near future. Our fundamental philosophy remains, which is to provide users a lot of control over their experience and design. We want to enable anybody to simply implement a design that fits them and their interests, their business or their life.

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