“It’s a minimalist design.”
I used to be like the old-fashioned developers. I’d run a XAMPP server with a stack that would make me cringe today. I’d have five different libraries just for the simplest of pages, pulling in graphics frameworks that use tons of special font assets and glyphs. However, a friend then showed me a simple framework and I realized how true the quote “less is more” was.
About the same time, I got my first Android device. I fell in love with the look and feel over how my old iPod looked at the time. I was never one for gradients and fancy icons. I instead wanted something that looked flatter. I was then introduced to the beautiful design language that is Material Design. I know that some people would critique Material Design because of it’s flaws, but I believe it is much better than many other design languages. It involves only what’s needed to get the point across and lets content remain in it’s own space on the z-axis.
I was always a web application developer but at the time I had no way to use Material Design and really wasn’t feeling like adding another behemoth to my massive stack. At this time was when I realized how much junk I was actually running. I began taking steps to reduce how large my stack was and make my pages much simpler.
- I stopped using XAMPP and moved to nginx with static HTML
- I began reorganizing my page for a top-down navigation
- I removed all libraries that added in small features (such as a sidebar, dropdown navigation, etc. that bloated the website)
- I moved to Polymer from Bootstrap 3 (after trying a few other frameworks first, Polymer fit best)
Some people may argue that using Polymer is the exact opposite of what I wanted to do. To be honest, I agree with them to a point. What I wanted was to have something simple to read, whether it be a user reading the website or another web developer examining the source. Polymer offered a Material Design UI in simple, readable elements. At least it’s not React.
When I began presenting my websites, people would always comment on how “professional” it looked, which was exactly what I wanted. Users would come to my page, read it, and understand it without being spammed with unneeded and ugly extraneous information. You didn’t need to spend any longer than five minutes of reading to get the main point, which was exactly what I wanted. Once I started self-promoting, people began asking why I wrote in this format, and I always responded with the same answer: “It’s a minimalist design.”
I wrote this article as a piece to explain how I do my web design and why I chose Polymer for the reasons I did. It’s easy to read both the rendered and non-rendered form of the webpage, and only the elements that need to be loaded, are loaded.