Today we bring to you a design highlight, and an example of how fun and cool the web can be, with the virtual vacation site The Poolsuite. I absolutely adore experiential websites that do fun, conceptual things. It reminds of the web in the late 90s and early 2000s where one-off web pages could thrive on a less cluttered landscape. Think hamster dance or Homestar Runner.
We continue to trend towards ease of use on the web. Clean, slick designs and easy access to information. But we can still do fun things with user interaction depending on what our goals are.
Poolsuite and a Real Fake OS
Poolsuite is designed to resemble the interface of a Macintosh Plus. Icons on the desktop are clickable and lead to various apps. One opens a media player where a chill song begins to play. Another opens up a retro-looking version of Instagram.
You’re instantly hit with a wave of nostalgia if you grew up with these computers. And I imagine that you would have vicarious nostalgia if you didn’t. The palette and overall scheme reminds you of sunny California and a warm day on the beach.
It’s a design highlight because the site accomplishes what it sets out to do: get you thinking about the the beach. Poolsuite is a companion site for Vacation Inc, a sunscreen company.
Thinking About Impractical Design
Poolsuite is not easy to use in the traditional sense of the web. You’re not quite sure going in what the site is about. Using the site like an OS takes time. And there are no clear indicators of how to get to Vacation Inc’s more traditional website. It is responsive though and has no issues with slow-down or loading past the initial boot-up sequence.
But while the design is impractical it ultimately works very well. The user is intrigued by the icons, the exploration, and the vaguely vaporwave aesthetic. And they reinforce the beach-vibes when you do stumble on the icon that launches you to the product page.
It highlights an important thing that we might overlook as designers – users like novelty. Of course, they really like ease of use when they’re looking purely for information, but companion pages like The Poolsuite can enhance user experiences when used as a piece of a whole campaign.