Simply beautiful...

MagicWok

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 2, 2006
815
52
London
I thought that I would share a site with you guys, that was recently on StyleBoost.

It really belongs here in the Design section, rather than the web development section. It's the online portfolio of a designer called Jonathan Yuen. He harks from my home country of Malaysia, and his website is just great. It's made in flash, but isn't 'in your face' and tiresome as so many flash based website are. Anyway, just thought I let you guys see something that I have to lift my hat off to, as something that makes me glad I chose a design career path.

Great site.

http://www.jonathanyuen.com/
 

ATD

macrumors 6502a
Sep 25, 2005
745
0
Wow, very cool. It took a little while to get to the work but it was so nice I didn't care.


 

redbandit

macrumors newbie
May 15, 2006
24
0
While the site is aesthetically pleasing, it has several flaws.

The splash page seems rather arbitrary. The button which launches the main page is confusing, rather it doesn't have the appearence of a button. I'm not sure what purpose the splash page serves either, it just seems like a waste of server space and an unnecessary hoop to jump through to get to the meat.

Secondly, the mouse cursor used within the site is completely unnecessary. It will confuse users and is difficult to control because it doesn't respond the same as the cursor on your computer responds - it lags. It is poorly crafted and feathered on the edges.

The work itself is wonderful, and as I said before, aesthetically pleasing. However, due to the few issues - especially the cursor lag, I didn't look any farther than the 3rd image.
 

billyboy

macrumors 65816
Mar 15, 2003
1,165
0
In my head
redbandit said:
While the site is aesthetically pleasing, it has several flaws.

The work itself is wonderful, and as I said before, aesthetically pleasing. However, due to the few issues - especially the cursor lag, I didn't look any farther than the 3rd image.
You missed out on some more lovely images!

That was a really innovative and conceptual website. Although maybe it sucks cause it doesnt have a php search engine included?
 

redbandit

macrumors newbie
May 15, 2006
24
0
billyboy said:
That was a really innovative and conceptual website. Although maybe it sucks cause it doesnt have a php search engine included?
But, the point is that this is a portfolio website. The intent is to show people your work. The way to facilitate that is by making it easy for the user to navigate it. The stylized mouse cursor is a gimmick amongst an otherwise interesting website. I have no problem with the rest of it, but I do think the splash page serves no purpose other than to "have a splash page" and the mouse cursor greatly inhibits the usability.

Do you think I am wrong?
 

whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
6,569
641
Cork, Ireland.
I thought it was absolutely stunning. Yet also a good example why graphic designers should never design user interfaces - they seem to go for form over function, every time.
 

eb6

macrumors regular
Sep 7, 2006
183
0
yo yo yo
whooleytoo said:
I thought it was absolutely stunning. Yet also a good example why graphic designers should never design user interfaces - they seem to go for form over function, every time.
"BAD" graphic designers go for form over function. Not "ALL".
 

whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
6,569
641
Cork, Ireland.
eb6 said:
FYI - my comment wasn't meant to be rude. I just forgot to put a smiley. :D
No, you're spot on - I was generalising too much!

It's just in my experience (as a programmer who deals with graphic designers to design Flash UIs; plus as an everyday, fussy user who deals with a lot of webpages) too many designers focus on what looks good, rather than what's easy and convenient to use.

As a portfolio page, the original linked site isn't going to be used as repetitively as perhaps an everyday application; and thus doesn't need to be as simple or convenient, but it still has issues.

- It takes a lot of mousing about and clicking to find certain areas.
- It's not immediately apparent where the buttons are
- You need to mouse-over the buttons to find out what they do, but in other parts of the interface, a mouse-over acts the same as clicking the button.
- The animations are stunning, but you wouldn't want to be in a hurry! ;)

All said though, it's absolutely stunning.
 

Josh

macrumors 68000
Mar 4, 2004
1,640
1
State College, PA
redbandit said:
While the site is aesthetically pleasing, it has several flaws.

The splash page seems rather arbitrary. The button which launches the main page is confusing, rather it doesn't have the appearence of a button. I'm not sure what purpose the splash page serves either, it just seems like a waste of server space and an unnecessary hoop to jump through to get to the meat.

Secondly, the mouse cursor used within the site is completely unnecessary. It will confuse users and is difficult to control because it doesn't respond the same as the cursor on your computer responds - it lags. It is poorly crafted and feathered on the edges.

The work itself is wonderful, and as I said before, aesthetically pleasing. However, due to the few issues - especially the cursor lag, I didn't look any farther than the 3rd image.

I agree, it looks nice, but is highly unusable and requires unecessary work from the user.

If a site has something to show or tell me, show or tell me it; don't make me figure out how to navigate an unclear site or "work my way through" it.
 

shecky

Guest
May 24, 2003
2,580
3
Obviously you're not a golfer.
whooleytoo said:
It's just in my experience (as a programmer who deals with graphic designers to design Flash UIs; plus as an everyday, fussy user who deals with a lot of webpages) too many designers focus on what looks good, rather than what's easy and convenient to use.

agreed. while theoretically all graphic design should communicate information, in reality information design is a subset of graphic design, as opposed to being the same thing. just because you are a graphic designer does not mean you are an information designer :)

and i think the site looks good for a wildly overdone, slow, tedious flash site. horrible for a portfolio.
 

Snark

macrumors member
Aug 5, 2003
50
0
I'm going to go against the grain on this one, but still concede that a lot of the points above are completely valid as far as general principles go.

The site works extremely well for me as a portfolio of design work. The interface is indeed less than straightforward, but, from my perspective, I don't mind; the "challenge" it presented was nowhere near daunting enough to be a hinderance. Indeed, I found it to be a welcome additional window into his overall aesthetic. I'm not going to try and squeeze the whole thing in during a ten minute coffee break, but it interests me enough that I'd bookmark it and give it time later.

I firmly believe that even in commercial design there is a place for design that challenges the viewer; though both place and audience have to be carefully chosen, certainly.

He may not the guy I'd chose for the next Makita hardware campaign, but a designer like this would certainly have a place in the Rolodex. You can rein his aesthetic in, if need be, but it would be a lot harder to squeeze it out of another designer that doesn't have it naturally.

Snark
 

shecky

Guest
May 24, 2003
2,580
3
Obviously you're not a golfer.
Snark said:
I firmly believe that even in commercial design there is a place for design that challenges the viewer; though both place and audience have to be carefully chosen, certainly.

challenge, absolutely a good thing. but this is not challenging, it is just distracting.

don't get me wrong; parts of it are beautiful but as mentioned before, i think its just overdone, especially as a portfolio site. if i am an art director wanting to see this guys work, after 5 seconds of swimming fish instead of seeing work i am closing the window.
 

Cloud9

macrumors regular
Aug 10, 2005
229
0
between flesh and thought
I felt as if I had entered a diferent world. The feeling is not one of a website. If it were supposed to feel like a website it would have been designed as such.

Instead it feels like a place to play and explore. The most serene place I have visited on the web. The cursor has issues, and they can be worked out, but I feel I have received his creation, which is the intention.
 

THX1139

macrumors 68000
Mar 4, 2006
1,928
0
Josh said:
I agree, it looks nice, but is highly unusable and requires unecessary work from the user.

If a site has something to show or tell me, show or tell me it; don't make me figure out how to navigate an unclear site or "work my way through" it.

Bummer that you had to think or do some extra work. I thought the payoff was worth it. Seems you and some of the other posters feel the site is lacking due to the design of form over function. That maybe the standards were broken and therefore the site was unusable? Well, maybe some of that is true if you are shopping for shoes or reading a forum... but as a portfolio site, I think it stands quite strong. Imagine the world, how boring it would be, if everyone followed exact standards. I think the best thing about rules are breaking them. If it offends or keeps some people from enjoying the experience, then I say "good", the site isn't intended for them. When a website is a work of art, I think they should get a pass on some of the more technical issues if it serves the broader purpose. What would you have done to improve the navigation? Put rollover buttons along the top or side?

Those of you who just don't get it... you have my sympathy.
 

SRSound

macrumors 6502
Jun 7, 2005
489
0
This discussion reminds me of a friend who always said he loved making websites but hated design - there's a spectrum of possibility between form and functionality, but this site is by far the most wonderful *total* experience I've seen. Sorry to those of you (like my friend) who think websites should be purely functional and don't appreciate the design aspect.
 

apfhex

macrumors 68030
Aug 8, 2006
2,670
4
Northern California
/Spectacular/ as a flash website, but, I don't know, I didn't have the patience to view any actual content on the site. I'm with shecky.
shecky said:
if i am an art director wanting to see this guys work, after 5 seconds of swimming fish instead of seeing work i am closing the window.
p.s. while writing this post I went back and actually looked through the site more, so you can't say I didn't even bother. :) Frankly, it's just so tiring. I also think it really distracts from the actual work posted on the site (don't get me started on the "slideshow" format used that doesn't let you look at any one image for more than a few seconds and at the same time forces you to wait for the image to cycle if you want to see the next one for the project you're looking at).
 

redbandit

macrumors newbie
May 15, 2006
24
0
Cloud9 said:
I felt as if I had entered a diferent world. The feeling is not one of a website. If it were supposed to feel like a website it would have been designed as such...The cursor has issues, and they can be worked out, but I feel I have received his creation, which is the intention.
That is a copout for a good idea with poor execution. This person obviously has the ability to make something intriguing and in your case serene, but that is no reason to let them get away with selling themselves short.

THX1139 said:
Bummer that you had to think or do some extra work. I thought the payoff was worth it. Seems you and some of the other posters feel the site is lacking due to the design of form over function. That maybe the standards were broken and therefore the site was unusable? Well, maybe some of that is true if you are shopping for shoes or reading a forum... but as a portfolio site, I think it stands quite strong. Imagine the world, how boring it would be, if everyone followed exact standards. I think the best thing about rules are breaking them. If it offends or keeps some people from enjoying the experience, then I say "good", the site isn't intended for them. When a website is a work of art, I think they should get a pass on some of the more technical issues if it serves the broader purpose. What would you have done to improve the navigation? Put rollover buttons along the top or side?

Those of you who just don't get it... you have my sympathy.
I think you are the one missing the point.

It looks as if there is a general consensus that the actual content is nice and that people like it. But, there is a split between those that think a good idea that got half baked equals a beautiful cake and those that can taste that it could have stood an extra 5 minutes in the oven.

And, I think you are confusing usability with creativity. Something that has a well designed interface doesn't automatically become drab and boring with "rollover buttons along the top or side". I don't think anybody insinuated that.

Also, Website as Work of Art justifying driving some people away because "'good' the website isn't intended for them" is a load of bull. This is a portfolio site. If the person isn't trying to get as many people to look at their work, then who are they targeting? Maybe...a specific company or art director? If it were me putting my work out there, I wouldn't want to sacrifice creativity, but I would want to make my interface transparent or complementary to the experience.

In the end, do I think the work is good? Yes. Do I think the site is well designed? The concept is interesting, but the execution fails in certain areas. Have I set out to rid the world of creativity? No.

Do I want to restrict the world to Helvetica Neue only? No. But do I love it?

Yes.
 

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