I live in two different apartments. One is a bit beat, a vacation place with older furniture, and the other is a classy city pad.
I realized recently that I felt much more chez moi in the vacation apartment, but I couldn't understand why. I was largely responsible for decorating my main apartment, and I really like the furniture we chose.
Finally I concluded that some furniture is just more inviting than other furniture. If you have a clean, contemporary white sofa, it may look great while at the same time saying "be careful how you sit on me, don't get me dirty".
The vacation apartment feels like a place where I can just bang around without being careful; the furniture (and the rooms themselves) invite active participation. My city apartment, while much more beautiful, is a place where I tread lightly, where I can't just flop down and hang out.
This brings me to a point that I will elaborate on in a future post: in designing a web site (and there are exceptions), it's important to consider what feels inviting, what makes users want to bang around and try things out. It's all to easy for us designers to fall into the trap of elegance and glittering perfection while subtly excluding the user.
The next time I'm designing a site, I'll be looking for ways to make it more like my vacation place, where you come in and instantly feel at home.
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