Functionality vs Design

Today I ran into an issue that made me think about how important it is to balance the usability of a program against its aesthetic. We were working on a cd-rom/website design that had text on an alternating dark/light grid over an image background. The text was black, and didn’t show up very well over the background, which had an interesting vertical pattern design. To fix this, I lightened up the area behind the text, between it and the background image.

This definitely made the text more visible – however, it all but eliminated the divisions made on the grid that was behind the text, making it harder to separate the text’s different lines. We eventually found a compromise, opting for a medium lightness behind the text, but it was interesting to see how making a change like that can make one aspect of a project look good while detracting from another.

In web design, and design in general, it’s all about form vs. function, and finding a balance between the two that satisfies both the project’s needs as well as creating a visually pleasing composition.