Eesh. I’ve done this before and it is harder than a root canal so I should know better, but this is where validity struts its ugly head.
Okay, lie back, put these special glasses and this bib on, relax and open wide - and please turn on your sarcasm catcher…
Whether a layout is good or not, whether a navigation system is useful or not, whether a font size and screen resolution is appropriate or not and whether a selection of colours, icons and other stuff is right or not is entirely dependent on the intended use and audience.
A commercial website that makes navigation difficult is doomed to failure unless the product is just so amazing that people will navigate the labyrinth of links just to get to it.
However, a personal homepage aimed at a specific target audience (gamers, musicians, web designers, relatives, MENSA members or whatever) may well benefit from a non-conformist approach - or at least, not suffer from it.
I guess my first comment on this website would be “what’s it about?”. The first thing I see is “Enter” - but why should I? What awaits me? Where am I? In fact, why is this barrier even here? Shops have doors but that’s mainly to keep the wind and rain out or to lock-up at night. If shop-keepers could practically remove this barrier most probably would (stores in shopping malls come very close), yet many web designers throw a front door in for no reason whatsoever execept to waste more of a user’s time clicking another link to go where they thought they were going in the first place.
Even after I’ve entered I’m still none the wiser. I see a title - but that sheds no light on the content - and I see an animated pattern, a barcode with the word “Mindless” (maybe that’s a clue?), some boxes with text in - most people would guess they are links I suppose - and some text links to some content of some sort (what is it?). The page title is “Home” so that doesn’t help much.
Okay, so you told us right off what it is about and who the target audience is and that’s great… for people in this forum. Anyone else who ends up at the site might not be so clear on content.
You say you like to make them think - why? Other than making your design job easier by completely ignoring any guidleines, what benefit is there for you in challenging your audience to work out the site for themselves? When looking for software to build your site, did you search high and low for the app with the worst possible interface and decide it was the one for you?
I’d have to say your portrayal of people who understand and apply design principles borders on patronising rather than pretentious. I once gave up a subscription to a design magazine because the producers decided “bugger the rules, we’ll give the readers what WE want!”. But they didn’t do it just once. Despite a barrage of letters from annoyed readers after their first foray, they decided to repeat the fiasco of 5 point red type set ragged on black backgrounds, captions in elaborate fonts printed in pale grey over patterned backgrounds and text that was, quite frankly, unreadable for a variety of other reasons. They challenged the rules - twice - and lost a customer of three years.
As for “dos-purists”, at the end of the day they are still the sort of people who make all this stuff possible. Like it or not, your favourite OS (Windows, Mac, Linux, Unix or whatever) still has a dos-like heart beating at its core, albeit mostly hidden behind a thin and often shaky veil of pretty pictures. As for thinking, most of them could out-think the average Windows jockey a dozen times over. Maybe they are your real target audience
Anyway, that’s just a few thoughts from a rather traditional conformist (though I don’t drink, smoke or watch football or cricket, which in Australia makes me rather unique).
But you’re young so go for it. Your users will decide if your design is ultimately successful and there’s a fair chance they’d despise anything I’d dream up for them ;). If you think my opinion is mostly irrelevant I’d probably have to agree
Here’s a site you may find interesting though, if only to disagree with everything in it