Web Critique #8: Abduzeedo.com
Web Critiques is a take on examining a current piece of web art and breaking it down. We show off the good, the bad, dos and dont’s, why and how it works (or doesn’t), and the list goes on.
With every Web Critique we choose to focus on things that are relevant to the website and how they’re trying sell their brand while pushing a website that is product-centric, functional, and looks great.
It should come to no surprise that this week we are looking at the wonderful, design-centric blog, Abduzeedo; or maybe it is a surprse. Not only are they one of our buddies (see the footer), but with their newest iteration and redesign, as well as being a central blog for designers, I was left no choice but to break it down for the masses.
The Abduzeedo homepage is one I am very familiar with. As I site I visit daily, and the first “big name blog” I came across a few years back, I have a particular affinity to the guys (and gals) over there. That doesn’t mean I wont be honest, but I have always digged and respected their stuff.
With that said, welcome to the Abduzeedo homepage. They have continued to push this blog style for displaying content in a grid, image based system, iteration after iteration, firmly believing in what works for the content they push—I admire that. Remember when I say “Content they push” because design must accentuate your content. Abduzeedo, while may or may not be seen as trendy, tend to stay away from design gimmicks, typically vying for the mantra of “less is more” and completely fulfilling it. They believe in what works and they stick with it; I’m sure their results and traffic wouldn’t suggest using alternative designs.
This newest design brings their ideas of minimalism and subtlety to a whole new level. There isn’t a whole lot changed from their last design, but rather, the design has gotten naked. The blog has become much more focused on content and making sure the viewer has an easy way to find it. Since most of their content is image heavy, this system works very well for them. It is important to always make sure you designing around content—this ensures your design has key goals in mind.
Chad – The new design is super minimal, there are barely any “Abduzeedo” elements in the design. Other than the logo, everything else is content. I am not saying it’s a bad thing, just that a design blog should showcase some design.
Style & Function
As mentioned above, Abduzeedo is a simple design with some elegant decision making. They have kept their logo and altered their brand colors (from rainbow-ish, to now black and yellow). This was a gutsy decision and one that I didn’t approve of in the beginning. However, as the design has been up, I am slowly growing to enjoy the new branding. The departure is more simple and easily more recognizable—just my style. The yellows is undeniably standout-ish and, maybe perhaps a bit too bold, serves to strengthen brand and brand awareness in the viewer.
Chad – Right from the get go I prefer this colour scheme than any in the past, it’s clean and bold. Really like the confidence in the brand with such a simple yellow block and type.
What’s a new redesign these days without incorporating a Responsive layout? As we are seeing more and more responsive layouts, I am less and less in love with them. Details on that in a future (developing) post. As for Abdz’s responsive response, they have done a nice job of incorporating their brand without disrupting the flow of the blog. It is clever in that you never really are adjusting on how to view the blog—despite the different sizes, function hasn’t changed one bit; sign of smart design.
Subtle navigation under their bold logo is a natural choice. The letters and coloring is an easy transition from brand to content. Most of the time you don’t use it unless you are going through archives, a design decision I think they discovered and realized building a stronger navigation was not needed. Using careful transitions, the hovers, etc, are a nice touch that shows Abduzeedo is up-to-date on modern techniques and standards. Always important to make sure you are understanding current design decisions and trends, and then use them… sparingly!
The Abdz logo and navigation are fixed and stay with you no matter what you’re doing, for better or for worse. I am a fan of this: this is just an easy and effective way to reinforce your brand and make navigation easy—in, out, and on with your life.
Whipped Cream and a Cherry
Despite my obnoxiously cute and confusing subtitles, we land at my soft spot: footers. Abduzeedo’s footer lacks all the great things we praised the rest of the site for. From what I determined was the footer, you have to run through confusing and ill-conceived content (clearly designed with SEO in mind) to land on the footer. That whole transition is a mess. What you land on is incredibly basic and lacks any pertinent information.
I think part of the design decision for this was that because of the fixed navigation and branding, additional information on the footer would be redundant. I more or less agree with this statement. Certainly is viable, and maybe I am a bit old school, but I like the footer to have some redundant information.
Chad – I am not as much as a “footer enthusiast” as Mike, but I do agree, the footer is lacking. With the non-relative advertisements, and the un-usable “Icon Wall” they really missed a good opportunity to get users clicking through the site. Why not add the Abduzeedo team profiles or twitter names?
Overall, I understand the direction that they wanted to go, Abduzeedo has the most active posting schedule, and their content screams for attention, so why try to get in the way of that!
The idea here is to take real world examples and explain what we think were the design decisions and share those thoughts. This is a great way for novice and veteran designers to find things to debate and hopefully learn from.
We also want to encourage user submissions—break down a fan’s portfolio or website—submit it and we’ll take a look. Recommendations or suggestions just send us a tweet @inspiredology, @MikePuglielli, or email me.