1st edition — by Patrick McNeil — Apr. 18, 2007
The Design Element
No Module madness doesn't have anything to do with March Madness. Module madness is quiet simply the pattern of putting everything in little containers. In my office we call them buckets; because of course they are buckets of data. Here I call them modules, if only because bucket madness sounds even more lame then module madness.
So what is the point of it? Well, us humans seem to love order, and nothing brings order like nice little containers for things. Clearly you can contain and separate content with out literally containing it in a visual device. But in these samples the designers have certainly gone and put each set of content in it's own little bucket of some sort.
Some of these modules are rather simple and imageless while others are quiet complex requiring multiple images and expanding boxes. Some of these buckets do neat things like break the border of the container. This is a marvelous idea for many reasons. For one it can bind the content together, and secondly it can bring focus to a certain module or section of the page. Some modules are shiny, many of them have rounded corners, all of them work to create order and hierarchy.
I have coded quiet a few expanding buckets via CSS and images and have become quiet intrigued with this topic. I hope to expand this section and include many more samples if only for my personal interests. I am always looking for fresh ways to design and embellish these little boxes of fun. I actually hope to do some tutorials on this in the not to distant future...but we will see if I make the time.
I know for myself the desire to compartmentalize is perhaps stronger then with many less technical designers. Being a programmer of sorts the desire to stick things in nice clean functions and sub routines relates well to the desire to put content in clearly defined little modules. This isn't always the best solution, but it sure seems that is the way my brain is wired, and I think this is rather common with technical folk. Realizing this is the first step to breaking it, but for now I will wallow in my module madness.