Most of you know me as a proponent of cleanliness when it comes to Web site design. Lots of white space framing content, minimalism as opposed to loads of splash and even Flash… But there are times when page-filling, eye-catching, and mind-blowing site design works to your advantage when it comes to delivering your message. Typically, this applies to the entertainment industry (film, television, gaming, etc.), though there are exceptions elsewhere. It’s your job to be the judge.
By way of example, here are a pair of screens touting the release of a new chapter in one of the most successful gaming franchises of all time, Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. Yes, the one with the Mr. T commercials… “What’s YOUR game, sucka?”
Above you’ll find the home page, and below a sub-page, for their latest expansion, entitled “Cataclysm”. Overdone? Sure. Busy? You bet your sweet bippy. Full of every trick in the book? Without a doubt. But brilliant? Most definitely. The way any good Web site design should, they match their content perfectly. Just as a purveyor of information should draw you into their product as cleanly and directly as possible, Blizzard’s Web team is drawing you in to theirs: the experience.
And this Web site is almost as much of an experience as the game itself. But isn’t that the point? In Design, as in life, there are no rules that are hard and fast. Some may be almost universally applicable, but they operative word there is almost. If, after careful consideration, your design team and clients decide that it serves your message to overwhelm the user rather than cleanly and directly draw them toward the information your site is attempting to purvey, then so be it.