Fourteenth – about depth and perspective

Today’s question is the following: How important is a sense of depth in web design? Can a site be well-designed without the use of the illusion of three dimensional space? At what point is it useful and at what point does it become distracting? Without claiming any expertise in art history, I can establish in this forum that since the late Renaissance even two dimensional art forms, like painting, use perspective. But not always. The question is whether we regard webdesign as just one art media enriching the incessant flow of art history or whatever goes on the computer screen should remain on the computer screen and by no means inserted to larger continuities of human activity.

While I had difficulty in finding the assigned reading on Webdesign Tuts, I did find an interesting article through a link to “How to make a web form in HTML Forms” about creating web forms. It has a three-dimensional picture, which, I find, much more effective than a flow chart. It is a great illustration.

Web Form Working

Based on this picture, I think, the usage of perspective in web design is useful.  Not in the sense of Rafael’s The School of Athens, but in a “web sense:” the design serves content. (In Raphael’s painting the design is the content, this is one of the reasons, we still consider it a superior piece of art.)

I do not have an example at hand, but I can imagine a three-dimensional picture as a the look of a web site. Perspective can add to the experience of the user, since the “artificial” recreation of depth can expand the view that opens to the user. I guess, the golden rule, that the visual has to support the content applies for perspective as well. And again, this is what Raphael need not to concern. He was “just” painting Art.


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