E-xtnd.it is a site that provides plugins and extensions for WordPress, Joomla, and jQuery. They are a team of creatives focused on creating tools that are useful and relevant to designers. In particular they seek to make tools that are easy to implement and look gorgeous. This combination ensures designers will love them. The e-xtnd.it site is seemingly simple, but contains some real depth and for this reason I selected it as my beautiful site to review today.
Finish off the details
One of the most common shortcomings of websites is the failure to finesse all of the details. Often times the bulk of a site gets put into place, but the finer points are never addressed. By taking small amount of extra time to polish up the details, you elevate a design from good to great.
On the e-xtnd.it site we find many details that have been polished up. The first example of this is the “back to top” link that appears when you scroll down the page. It has a nice fade in and out transition. And, it is transparent so that when it moves over the top of the footer it blends in perfectly. Certainly a very minor point on the site, but the type of detail that gives the site polish.
Another such detail can be found in the slide down login form. Here the simple animation on the rocket ship gives it that extra touch to make it feel complete.
Now, while we are focusing on the details I will say there are a few minor things I would have tweaked. For example, it would be nice if the rocket ship in the login form was linked to the registration page as well. Even better, it would be great if the ship and register link had an onHover style that made it clear it was a link to actually register.
One of the difficulties created by illustrations is working them seamlessly into a design. This can frequently lead to a situation where illustration literally takes over a site. On this site the illustrations certainly drive the design. But what I love is how they have managed to blend them with the site, without going over the top. For example, the way the home page slide show blends with the page without borders leaves it feeling open and really clean.
And it is this cleanliness that really leaves me feeling so positive about this design. It manages to remain really clean, while still having an extremely distinct style. When you throw in some finishing details it leaves a great impression.
The take away
If you want to push your sites to the max you have to plan for the details. Carefully consider all of the finer details that will help push the design beyond the bare minimum. By combining subtle details, tasteful animations and planning for every bit of content you can accomplish just that. Don’t assume your development team will pick up the wholes you left in the design, instead provide them the resources to implement something truly remarkable.
>EXTRA: For more web design tips from Patrick McNeil, pick up his book the Web Designer’s Idea Book, which provides inspirational examples of winning layout, color, and style directions.