On the meaning of ‘design’

To clients, one of the most confusing aspects of the job we do as web designers lies in communicating the meaning of that pesky word “design.” It’s the kind of word that you can have whole conversations about and have both parties walk away with entirely different assumptions about what was discussed. For we designers, it basically means the totality of our work–often spanning reasearch, user identification, content strategy, sitemapping, wireframing, prototyping, and yes, finally, a visual representation of it all. To most clients, it just means “art”, as in “just throw some money at it and a gorgeous finished website will pop out the other end.”

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The death of desktop

I’ve been making websites for desktop computers for 13 years now. And It crossed my mind recently that, based on a little rough math, I’ve created well over 500 unique designs. In hindsight, they weren’t always pretty. But much of that was because web design was still in its infancy when I started–no web fonts, no css, and no jquery, just a bunch of awful tables and spacer gifs. Life was honestly pretty rough if you had any expectation of creating great design for the web environment. Continue reading

Zeldman and the giant redesign

The web design community is aflame with comments and criticism over Jeffrey Zeldman’s most recent redesign–a stark, content-first (well, content-only) layout that looks undeniably odd against the norm of modern desktop web design.  This single-column, text-only layout has attracted a wide assortment of vitriol, prompting a rebuttal from the man himself.  You’d think the guy raped a panda. Continue reading

The problem with timeline

Welcome to Timeline, another “worst update ever” from Facebook. As with every tweak to this social epicenter, it’s difficult to distinguish real user disgust from reactionary resistance to change. It seems that every Facebook rollout is greeted with pitchforks and torches until the next version bestows on it a sainthood as “the good old Facebook we knew and loved.” Continue reading