Beautiful Websites: Former Apple Designer’s Amazing Photo Gallery

matasblog

Slick photo gallery plug-ins for JQuery, Dojo and other JavaScript libraries mean that the days of the boring thumbnail grids are well behind us. But the same ease-of-use means that slick slideshows are everywhere — it’s hard to stand out.

Unless you’re Mike Matas. The former Apple designer and co-founder of Delicious Monster recently unveiled a new photo blog that has perhaps the slickest, yet simplest, gallery script we’ve ever seen.

Perhaps more impressive than the clever slide navigation and the blurred background photos, what’s really amazing about the site is how simple the interface is — Matas manages to pack in everything from embedded maps to comments without overwhelming the photos.

The only caveat is that the site requires a modern web browser with support for emerging standards. Internet Explorer users; nothing to see here. Also note that performance lags a bit in Firefox 3.6 compared to WebKit browsers like Safari and Chrome.

We’d hate to see a million ripoffs of this design, but if you want to do something similar, the site’s developers, Chi Wai Lau and Nefaur Khandker, say that it was built using the MooTools JavaScript framework.

Check out our three-part MooTools tutorial on Webmonkey if you want to learn more about using the free UI framework.

One very nice touch we like on the site is that scrolling changes the URL so there’s no back-button breakage. Unfortunately, if you turn off JavaScript entirely you notice that the site doesn’t function at all, which is worth remembering should you consider doing something similar.

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