Twenty-seventh – Marc Ecko

This assignment asks us to go back to a website we talked about at the beginning of the semester. We are asked the same question that we were asked then: is it cool or unusable? I need to discuss whether the navigation serves the site purpose or could double as a user torture mechanism.

I would start with noting that the site moves when I move the mouse. Therefore I need to adjust my movements in order to properly operate the navigation. It is a little surprising at the beginning. (I guess, few like to be reminded that a movement so familiar needs to be relearned. However, having a dancer-background, I could cope with this easily.)

Going to the navigation. The concept is quite straightforward: this is the homepage of an artists, the navigation shows him leaning onto a wall on which pictures of different sizes hang. Each picture leads to another interior page. While the whole page keeps moving. Everything is black and white and in the shades of gray, except for the yellow highlights. Very tasteful but not elegant. Regardless, the homepage testifies to Ecko being a contemporary visual artist. This includes the design of the navigation, which makes one dizzy while fulfilling its tasks completely. The navigation is designed as an integral part of the whole Ecko site-experience, thus I would suggest to rephrase the question whether the navigation is cool or unusable. It should not not be an either-or question. It is usable, but I am not sure if it complies with the consensual notion of cool. According to the Merriam-Webster, among many things, cool is something “marked by deliberate effrontery or lack of due respect or discretion, for example a cool reply” or in slang it is used to describe something “very good, excellent, and fashionable, hip, for example: ‘not happy with the new shoes … because they were not cool(Celestine Sibley).

I think, the navigation is very conceptually designed, which is not surprising from an artist like Ecko. It requires a different attitude to the site that from visiting a news portal, internet banking, or social media. In fact it creates a viewer situation, and forces the visitor to move along with the homepage itself. I am not sure, how his artistic vision would come along had his navigation not took the marine-experience literally and kept the site from moving back and forth. Thinking of he navigation without the movement, does not seem to introduce much difference to the user experience. Hence, the claim that the animation does not add much to the site while makes navigation a little harder, does not sound baseless. Therefore, I would argue, the navigation is not cool, yet important from the artist’s point of view, despite the fact that it does not enrich much the user experience.

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