As a designer, I love to surf the web for inspirations and somehow I have been drawn to commercial web sites lately. Crate&Barrel for instance, the site makes great use of Helvetica. Although the logo is set in one of the most used typefaces, it has such a distinctive brand. The homepage is clean, organized and well-balance between texts and images. What I don’t like though are the drop-down menus. I know that many big sites need to have drop-down menus to cover all of its products, but I am still convinced that you can do without it. What annoys the hell out of me about Crate&Barrel web site is the anchored bottom. Even if I close it, the darn thing wouldn’t go any.
Target is another one of my favorite site designs. I love the homepage layout even though it is loaded with information. The drop-down menus once again turn me off.
Somehow the secondary pages are disconnected with the homepage. The main body content is strangely narrower than the header and footer.
There is one gorgeous web site that conquers all the issues above. If I were in an interview for a job and being asked what is my favorite web site. The first site would come to mind is Apple. The team behind this site has done an exceptional job of present this site in an elegant yet simple layout.
I love Apple’s informational architecture and it’s a perfect model for University’s sites that would like to unify its online presence. No matter where you go, the global navigation, which is simple and carefully designed, is always there. Although Apple has tons of products, it doesn’t need drop-down menus to get there. I am very curious to see how Apple would incorporate iPad into its global navigation.
What keeps me coming back to Apple again and again is the homepage. I love the way apple shows off its product. The latest showcase for the iPad is so big, bold and beautiful. I am sure Apple had made a conscious decision to use the homepage as an ad space as well. If you walk into an Apple store, you would see how the homepage is being served as a banner on its computer displays. That is just freaking awesome.