another humble webpage
… built as in the olden days.
After more than 20 years, and with some serious improvements in
CSS standards and (most
important) browser support along the way, to base my designs on more or less the same ideas and methods as back when I started, still
feels perfectly OK. In that sense nothing much has changed at my end, and I and my ideas may be regarded as totally obsolete by now,
based on age alone.
Good thing the latest browsers play along just fine then, as otherwise the entire exercise might end in total embarrassment. As it is; I am not even embarrassed over my old site, which was built within structural and visual limitations to cope with IE6/7, and certainly shows its age by now.
As time has passed, only the toolbox (supported standards, etc.) with which we can build webpages and organize sites, has grown larger. All else in the field of web design has stayed pretty much the same, and most designs released onto the web today even look and behave as they did a decade or more ago.
Now, why is it that despite all the progress in software and technology, what's found online appears as if time has stood still for decades? Web designs have become almost as repetitive as series on public TV.
visitor support imperative
The internet is as full of tips and tricks for web design and behavior, as there are ready-made templates and platforms. Some of it
is clearly useful, while most is just more of the same old, same old.
Apart from being boring it is actually kind of OK, as the few new visual ideas one can run into while surfing around are rarely any more inviting than the older ones – familiarity clearly counts for something…
So while the way we design has changed quite a bit over the years, we most often aim for the same old look and feel. Often seemingly
inspired by all the others that have gone for the same old look and feel for whatever reason.
Particular forms for visual decor, or total lack of decor, are the limits within which we design, regardless of how complex, overloaded or simple the underlying structure happens to be.
While one can expect the average web surfers today to be almost as design-blind as they have become ad-blind over the years,
choice of visual cues, readability, and ease of navigation, are still major turn-on / turn-off factors.
The all-important “user experience” (UX) can be defined broadly, or in very fine details. But, no matter how we define UX, we simply can not expect users to stay around for long and return for more if they do not feel welcome and supported in their search for what they came for.
Banners and signs that tell visitors that they are not welcome unless they agree to certain conditions, are of course major turn-offs for most web surfers. Blocked sites likewise obviously.
bits and pieces
Nearly everything that worked two decades ago, still works – is supported by browsers – today. Ignoring progress in
standards and support and rely entirely on backwards compatibility to carry our designs, is not a good idea though.
May not be visible on the surface today, but clumsy and overloaded source-code held up by awkward styles and scripts, leaves plenty of room for failures to sip into as pages/sites are updated and/or upgraded. Believe me; I've been there too.
Juggling too many bits and pieces at the same time, is always risky. On live test-sites like mine it is a risk worth taking just to see what works across browserland and what doesn't, but on commercial sites it may end in disaster and costly down-time.
Not all of us want to stay at the straight and narrow the entire time. It's so boring, and there is no progress in it. However, that I get a kick out of making browsers fail, is not an example worth following unless one also like to fix the mess one may create.
Was easier to find and trigger weaknesses in browsers back in the days – 15 years or so ago, but not too hard to cause
conflicts today either. Reason enough to avoid pushing them too hard, unless one has the time for, and an interest in, troubleshooting
This very page reveals several weaknesses and rendering deviations in latest browser versions, but none serious enough to bother with fixing. Easiest to see the deviations between major rendering engines – not that many in use today.
As content-quality across the world wide web in my opinion seems to fall year by year, I expect visual design and all that is behind
it to follow down the slope. In not too long the majority of sites will not be worth a visit, for any reason.
Good thing the world wide web is so voluminous that there always will be something worth our on-line time, no matter what our interests may be. Hope some of that higher-quality content will be well presented too.
To me personally it does not matter much what the major players on the world wide web – or anywhere else for that matter – serve and how they present it. I just pick up enough to know what they are all about, before ignoring most of it – same as I do with advertisements, before going on search for more solid stuff or whatever catches my interest on any particular day.
If the content on a site is what I personally would call good, I may tolerate almost any
presentation / design. If the content is found to be weak, unimportant or flawed, how it is presented
does not matter since I won't stay around long enough to mind.
From the above one can read that each individual end-user is in charge, if she/he so chooses. And, there is no way to make everyone perfectly happy.
last rev: 22.jan.2022