CSS is pretty cool; however, I think I’m becoming addicted to using it. It appeals to me in that love hate relationship. I love that I can perfect the look of an element … but I hate that I can perfect the look of an element. I continually find myself trying to perfect way to much. For example, right now I’m getting addicted to styling the borders on buttons, inputs, and textarea elements. I really think the defaults are possibly the crappiest looking things in the world.
For the buttons, I’m really like the flat look. I’m not really sure why but I think it gives a nice simplistic look. Though I’m conflicted, because I really like the slightly raised look that changes to a inverted gradient to give it the depressed look when you click it; hence, my addiction issue. I can never really determine what I like. Now I’m sure that most user interface experts would say take the look that fits the rest of the application, but then you come to the issue of what do you decide when that’s one of the first components you’re designing. I think that even though I really like the flat look for buttons, I’m going to reserve that for more of menu types of things, not actually user input buttons.
Now, for the textarea and input stuff, I’m really liking the solid thin border. I think it really gives a good definition to the area especially considering the default is the indentation that only hits the top and left sides. While that’s good if you put the input/textarea on a different background, it’s terrible if the backgrounds match. After staring at it for about 2 hours, your eyes have a really hard time discerning where the element really is on the page … something really important when you are trying to layout the final design. So adding a little darker background that’s about 4-6 shades off from blending and that thing border I love, it really makes things look slick. Yeah, I’m addicted to that :-).
Though, you probably don’t need to hear this from me since most anyone that would read this article would know more about what users consider appealing in a user interface. Though, I really think that the usability and designers are a little over zealous with designs needing to appeal to the lowest common brain cell. I admit that I appreciate a guided interface; however, I don’t need every interface I use to hold my hand and look like it was designed for 3rd graders. Would it really kill to have simple, clean interface that might appeal to the engineering mindset? I don’t think so, but then again, don’t trust me … I’m not a ‘certified’ usability guy :-).