Almost all 2.0-style sites make use
of subtle 3D effects, in moderation, to improve the qualitative feel of
Everyone knows that these little
touches feels good but no one knows the reason for this.
Realistic surface affects such as
drop-shadows, reflections and gradients facilitate in making a visual
interface look more factual, solid and "finished".
These may also remind us of some
tactile or visual qualities of real-world items, like water droplets,
marble floors and shiny plastic buttons.
When & how to use rich
The golden rule here is to use with
care, and not to overdo it. That is, these effects should not be
applied to everything.
Similar to these techniques, a rich
surface might just add value to your design when it is utilized
understandingly and properly
If your navigation/icon/logo/layout
sucks fundamentally, you can't polish your way out.
You must get the basics right first.
It is also vital that you maintain a
reliable light-source. Even though this may become more complicated
with the delusion of back-lit diffusion in buttons etc, you will still
realize if a design, on the whole, feels
3D effects may make the elements
appear to be prominent from the page but this will happen only if the
remaining of the page is relatively flat.
Avoid trying to make your entire
design 3D-realistic because:
- It's more work
- It will increase the overall size
of the page assets
- And you don't need
to. 3D effects use lots of different pixels, and
different pixels should be used deliberately to draw the visitor's
attention to key content elements, or to enhance "soft" informational