Web Design Form Vs. Function

BalanceI had a question the other day from an artist in White Plains who wanted to create a very elegant interface on her website from which she could sell her artwork. She wanted each piece of artwork to appear one at a time.  Now this might work when someone is physically in your gallery and you are selecting works for them to view, but online, few visitors will wait patiently to be fed content in this way.

This is the classic example of web design form vs function; the quintessential design dilemma. And this is the balancing act you must perform when developing a successful website.
Of course an elegant solution is a must; we're dealing with fine art and the look and feel of the website must reflect that. But good function is also mandatory. You must always consider your audience. Will they want to wait while each image is loaded automatically? What if they miss the opportunity to click on a piece of interest? Now they must wait for every other work to be displayed before they will get that opportunity again.

A better balance of form and function would be to create an elegant carousel or gallery where the visitor is able to view multiple pieces at once and select on a work of particular interest. The "form" is still stylish AND the "function" effectively focuses on the viewer.

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