A looping image of a man in a business suit with a serious expression. A child is entering the room in the background.

Customization Lessons from an Experimental Art School Site

The Yale School of Art home page. The background is a cut off yellow image. There is a blue bold streak in the middle of the screen. Content is placed in yellow boxes with black text.
Yes, this is the real Yale School of Art home page. This is what can happen when you give full customizable power to your clients or partners.

You Can’t Forgo Usability

An image of the B.E.A.C.H Charters VI home page. The background is of a blue beach and umbrella. There is red text over the background image.
Yikes, this isn’t the kind of welcome any user would want to receive, even if their favorite color is red.
The Graduate Study Areas page from the Yale School of Art website. The background is an image of purple and blue pixels. Paragraphs of content are on yellow squares with black text.
The Graduate Study Areas page has a lot of bright colors on top of each other, making this valuable information difficult to read. Oh, did we mention the background moves too?

Protect Readability

Guard Against Layout Chaos

The the News page from the Yale School of Art website. The background is a looping gif of a business man staring at the screen. Text and images are thrown on the page in a disorganized way.
You’re going to feel disoriented and dizzy trying to read article titles on this page. And, you’ll have the joy of this guy in a tie watching you while you do it.
Lady Gaga’s Myspace page. Different posts are scattered on the screen with no apparent headings or organization.
If you came to Lady Gaga’s page looking for “Bad Romance,” you’re in for a bad surprise instead. This layout offers so much to wade through to find an individual piece of content, you might give up before you find what you were looking for.

Customize in Harmony

Limit Lists

The Yale School of Art Quick Links area. The list is unorganized and very long.
Trying to find the one thing you need on this screen so you can get more information or take action? Sure, just as soon as you read every single quick link to see if your information is in this list.
The home page from Lexington Medical Center’s old intranet. The page is full of icons and multiple lists with many items at the bottom of the screen.
There really isn’t any time to read these lists when you’re trying to save lives.

Create Rules for Lists

Customization Balance is About Governance

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