Inspired, I scoured the web to find out what else is possible. It turns out that all those snazzy cutting edge effects you’ve seen around are a doddle with a tiny amount of code that you can find in countless online tutorials. I’m sure you’ve seen the effect where you click a thumbnail image and the screen greys out with the big version popping up in the middle. Looks really classy but looks really difficult to achieve. Don’t worry, someone else has done the hard work for you – download a little jQuery plugin and you’re flying! Rollover galleries, slide-out panels, star ratings, calendar date selectors, all just as easy.
With all this functionality at your disposal it is easy to go overboard and fill your site with jQuery effects. Don’t! As with all new techniques these things tend to go through a phase of being horrendously overused. So while you should feel free to experiment, stop before using an effect in your site, take a step back and ask some searching questions.
- Is this effect actually any good?
- Will it add anything to your design?
- Will the site look cheap and gimmicky?
- Will users be annoyed by it?
- Is there a better way to achieve what you’re after.
These are questions that designers should constantly ask themselves not just about jQuery but about their design in general. It’s just that at the moment jQuery is THE big thing and so most likely to be abused. jQuery will, in time, be quietly assimilated into the designers toolset and will be used much more discreetly. jQuery is brilliant in that it marries powerful functionality with ease of use and with a bit of care you can enhance your visitors experience without having to become a tech head.