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Q1 - 2005 : The State of Web Design


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Q1 - 2005 : The State of Web Design
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drewprops
Space Pirate
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2005-02-16, 22:25

Okay kids, where are we with web design here in the year 2005?
Where are we going?

We all know that Flash intros suck. Bigtime.
We all know that dynamic content is GOOD.
Newsfeeds make sure that your content gets OUT THERE.

Besides those three, what other lessons have we learned from the last two years of web design and what trends do we see continuing into the future?

I'll be attempting to explain some of this tomorrow morning to people who are likely too old to understand and/or care. People who will ask me to design a website that looks and feels like it was designed and made in 1982.

Still, I'm going to educate them before we begin the road to ruin.

Steve Jobs ate my cat's watermelon.
Captain Drew on Twitter
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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2005-02-16, 22:37

  • Standard-compliant code is a MUST.
  • CSS usage is very good.
  • Meaningful CSS usage is even better.
  • Making it accessible is important and very easy if previous bullet is decently thought out.
  • Like flash, image-driven layouts are BAD.
  • Site-nav bars are good. Site maps are usually bad and an indicator of an unnecessarily complicated site layout.

hmm... I'm sure Jack might have some input too.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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drewprops
Space Pirate
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2005-02-16, 22:49

The biggest thing that I learned in 2004 was that a website consists of three things:
  • content
  • structure
  • style

Teaching this to people who know little about computers and nothing about web design is tantamount to attempting to train a cocker spaniel to land a 747.

The reason we go to a website is to find content. Anything that gets in the way of that search is a great reason to look for the information on a different website. I believe that's the best tack to take when I try to explain why a Flash-introed site is a Bad Thing for a dry, corporate client.

Steve Jobs ate my cat's watermelon.
Captain Drew on Twitter
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709
¡Damned!
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Purgatory
 
2005-02-16, 23:13

Quote:
Originally Posted by drewprops
Teaching this to people who know little about computers and nothing about web design is tantamount to attempting to train a cocker spaniel to land a 747.


Oh man, welcome to my world.
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boxofjack
New Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
 
2005-02-18, 10:13

I for one hope to see the return of the large animated gif
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Fooboy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2005-02-18, 10:44

"Teaching this to people who know little about computers and nothing about web design is tantamount to attempting to train a cocker spaniel to land a 747."

Haha!!!

I just picture this little cocker spaniel with its paws up on the dash - looking straight ahead while wagging its tail and barking ... looking up at the co-pilot out of the corner of its eyes with a "Aren't I worthy of praise?" dog look.

Mean while, the planes engines are whining, red lights and emergency indicators are going off as its about to plow the side of a mountain.
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SledgeHammer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2005-02-18, 11:25

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fooboy
"Teaching this to people who know little about computers and nothing about web design is tantamount to attempting to train a cocker spaniel to land a 747."

Haha!!!

I just picture this little cocker spaniel with its paws up on the dash - looking straight ahead while wagging its tail and barking ... looking up at the co-pilot out of the corner of its eyes with a "Aren't I worthy of praise?" dog look.

Mean while, the planes engines are whining, red lights and emergency indicators are going off as its about to plow the side of a mountain.
Sounds like a Far Side cartoon.

I mostly have only to second Brad and drewprops. Also, as a rule, frames are bad. I got rid of them in the latest update to the site I design using CSS. Kept the look and the functionality, but the frames are no more. (Don't mind me, I'm just feeling proud of myself.)
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LoCash
Rest In Peace
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2005-02-18, 11:37

Edited to protect my employment.

Last edited by LoCash : 2005-02-21 at 12:03. Reason: This stuff shows up in web searches. Sorry, it's gotta go :)
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SledgeHammer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2005-02-18, 12:21

Well, if it's any consolation at all, you're first site looks really good. But you know that. I don't understand people sometimes. When will the world learn that tables SUCK? ...At least in terms of a design structure.

EDIT: Oh, and your VP is wrong. This is the pinnacle of web design.

Last edited by SledgeHammer : 2005-02-18 at 12:30.
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ast3r3x
25 chars of wasted space.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Send a message via AIM to ast3r3x  
2005-02-18, 20:51

I guess it's not really ideal for a business website, but I liked the boldness of the black design you showed me LoCash.
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jump
New Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2005-02-20, 16:23

Oh boy are we going to have fun on Monday
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Windswept
On Pacific time
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Moderator's Pub
 
2005-02-20, 16:53

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoCash
The biggest thing that I learned in 2004 and this first quarter of 2005 is that it doesn't matter how good of a web designer I am, I am always going to be forced into creating a mediocre product by people that have no design sense whatsoever.

Here's a fun story about how my art department got fired yesterday. The only reason I still have a job is because the COO told the CEO that he really couldn't just fire the marketing/art department.
How will you manage without an art department? Won't that dump all the work on you? I'm sorry that things are in such an upheaval at work, but at least you still have *your* job. That guy must be crazy, to just up and fire everybody. Hope you have been able to get some rest this weekend.

Carol
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LoCash
Rest In Peace
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2005-02-20, 17:21

Hey, I was going to get canned too, so it wasn't going to be my problem

Starting Monday I've gotten my department to start reporting to the COO, so problems like this shouldn't happen anymore. Yay.

It is with great regret that we say our farewells to Jack, who passed away on May 28th, 2005. Jack, you will be missed by all

Superior thinking has always overwhelmed superior force. - Marine Corps Officers

"You don't lead by hitting people over the head-that's assault, not leadership." - General Eisenhower
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johnq
Multi-touch Piñata
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2005-02-20, 18:29

<constructive criticism>
Personally I feel the Camvera you designed originally is a bit too "templaty", kinda too iWorks/Pages...

I think it's the whitespace, a bit too much of it. I love whitespace in designs but...

I did sonesta.com's templates (although I'm not to blame for subsequent Flash or ASP or lack of CSS! ) which uses a lot of whitespace and holds up pretty well for various hotel colors...imho...

http://www.sonesta.com/egypt_portsaid/
http://www.sonesta.com/coconut_grove/
http://www.sonesta.com/egypt_cairo/
http://www.sonesta.com/boston/
http://www.sonesta.com/peru_arequipa/ (many more, just use the popup menu)

I think yours needed a bit more definition separating the various sections, whether it is accomplished though spacing, font sizes, rules etc.

The one "they like" is a bit too-separated, although it's "very okay" and aside from the obvious boxes, content is treated differently.

Content needs not only a structural hierarchy but also a visual hierarchy, a bit harder to define, especially what is too little or too much.

</constructive criticism>

Anyway good luck and HOLD ON to that frigging job.

I've been not working full time for longer than I care to think about. At this point I'd put up with any office politics and dunderheads for a decent reliable wage.

"Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding." - Albert Einstein
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LoCash
Rest In Peace
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2005-02-20, 18:38

The camvera.com I launched is a bit different from what I originally proposed, though your suggestions would have applied even to that one. We're a wireless broadband company, so the immense white space is intentional to project the concept of wireless; of freedom, of open air, of no clutter separating you from the internet. Of course, I only wish they offered the criticism you did, it would have been a step up from, "I don't like paragraphs that indent" and "My favourite colour is blue. You need more blue in the design".

*sigh*

I'm over this web site though. I'm ready to move on

It is with great regret that we say our farewells to Jack, who passed away on May 28th, 2005. Jack, you will be missed by all

Superior thinking has always overwhelmed superior force. - Marine Corps Officers

"You don't lead by hitting people over the head-that's assault, not leadership." - General Eisenhower
  quote
Moogs
Hates the Infotainment
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: NSA Archives
 
2005-02-20, 20:01

One thing more designers must realize: you can develop elegant, fully featured sites with nothing but XHTML, CSS 2.1 and a little JavaScript. There is absolutely zero need for tables anymore, unless you're showing tabular (imagine that) data. There are many good hacks available for crappy browsers like IE so there's no need really to rely on BS table-based designs, invisible GIFs, etc.

You can even do image rollovers with CSS now.

...into the light of a dark black night.
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Windswept
On Pacific time
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Moderator's Pub
 
2005-02-20, 20:11

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoCash
Hey, I was going to get canned too, so it wasn't going to be my problem
Yikes! Well then, I'm glad it 'stayed' your problem. Sheesh.

Quote:
Starting Monday I've gotten my department to start reporting to the COO, so problems like this shouldn't happen anymore. Yay.
"Yay" is right. Close call, huh?

Think of it this way: you *could* be a Marine 2nd lieutenant packing for Iraq about now. I'm SO glad you aren't. (Another close call, n'est-ce pas? Just my opinion.)
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ast3r3x
25 chars of wasted space.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Send a message via AIM to ast3r3x  
2005-02-20, 20:23

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moogs
One thing more designers must realize: you can develop elegant, fully featured sites with nothing but XHTML, CSS 2.1 and a little JavaScript. There is absolutely zero need for tables anymore, unless you're showing tabular (imagine that) data. There are many good hacks available for crappy browsers like IE so there's no need really to rely on BS table-based designs, invisible GIFs, etc.

You can even do image rollovers with CSS now.
I love CSS. An AI member actually taught me how to do CSS rollovers. It's especially nice if the center of your button is the same, you can just use a 1px wide image and stretch it, and save load time.
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jump
New Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2005-02-24, 20:46

Gee, all this whining makes me glad I got out of the "creative" end of business and back into schmoozing for a living. :smokey:
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autodata
hustlin
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2005-02-24, 22:07

Quote:
Originally Posted by drewprops
Okay kids, where are we with web design here in the year 2005?
it's a programmers' world
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jump
New Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2005-07-11, 15:08

I miss you, you little brat!

Liz
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Batman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Iowa
 
2005-07-11, 16:40

As said above, CSS, XHTML, Accesibility, Dynamic Content. Currently I co-admin a site that looks like junk, and am completly re-building it from the ground up. Thanks to CSS, with the new site I change the enitre layout on the fly by just tweaking the CSS (much like csszengarden.com), and content with some PHP and SQL so that the content of certain pages come straight from the database so they can be changed using a form page so that others can edit the site easily. Lastly, Standards Compliance!!! (that means the browsers too - you heard me Redmond).

Sometimes ... things that are expensive ... are worse.
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intlplby
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
 
2005-07-12, 02:03

before some of you discount flash intros and image driven sites you need to remember that not all sites are there to deliver raw text information to the user....

some websites are meant to be more experience based ..... most sites should follow the guidelines you all mentioned, but some sites still are about experience more than content.......for a dry corporate client a flash intro is bad, but for other some clients it may be appropriate......
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