Bells and Whistles

One of my favorite parts of building out a website is figuring out the best way to implement little touches that make a site a bit more engaging. A little animation here or a little transition effect there can add a great deal of visual engagement with your users. The key, as with most things in life, is moderation.
When researching new techniques in the front end development landscape I come across many interesting visuals. Sometimes it is an interesting way to transition a button click other times it’s a new technique for sliding in a menu. I keep a record of the techniques that stick out to me so that I can incorporate them when developing a new site.
It is pretty easy to get carried away with adding all these bells and whistles to a site, so make sure to take a step back and see how they work with the overall design of the site. Will these techniques enhance usability or just be a distraction? A lot of times I’ll start by coding up a nice rollover effect and think it is really cool, but have to tone it down because it was taking away attention from the item it is highlighting. Remember that a visual isn’t good if it doesn’t help the user understand, navigate, or enhance the content.