Don’t get too proud of your Web creation. Its beauty is in the eye of the user. “Stupid” Web tricks can be downright smart Don’t get too proud of your Web creation. Its beauty is in the eye of the user.
I was recently advised to check out the site design at The Internation Herald Tribune. The homepage, however, while neatly laid out and easy to navigate, is not the subject of our interest. Click on any of the news stories and look at the layout. The first thing to catch my eye was the three-column layout–very newspaper like. Next, I noticed the row of “layout” buttons at the bottom right of the text. There is a button to increase or decrease the font, change the layout to one column or back to three columns, and a display of the current page number for the article you are viewing. When your mouse reaches the far right column, the “Next Page” button rolls over, and when you are on a middle page, a mouseover on the left column rolls over the “Prev Page” button. There are also very easy-to-use buttons for printer-friendly page versions and “e-mail a friend” functionality. The pull-down menus at the top of the page are also elegantly implemented, and the site’s designers have also developed a page-based clipboard to hold article quotes across a variety of articles, which is very handy for researchers.
The site is also uncluttered, which makes reading an article very easy. The site is obviously not ad supported (the print edition probably “carries” it), so we can’t compare it directly to other content sites that are trying to be self-supporting. But we can recognize it for the design elements it has achieved and give the designers a round of virtual applause.
Pride, chief among the seven deadly sins, is an ugly thing to behold. In the past few weeks I have witnessed it too many times among graphic designers who believe their first attempt to be creative is a thing of glory to behold, and do not want to hear criticism or make changes without first complaining to high heaven. Ugly behavior. A better model can be seen in the open-source world, where pride lies in the idea of the object and not in the object itself. Open-source developers say, “Here is what I have created and how I did it. If you can make it better, please do, and share what you have done with others.” This is an approach I can support, because it affords the originator with a degree of humility (much lacking in today’s world) and a path where development can continue. So, designers, please get off your high horses and accept criticism without whining. Criticism about your work is not a personal affront.
Anything on the Internet caught your eye for better or for worse? Let me know at [email protected]
Garth Gillespie is architect and chief technologist for ComputerUser.com.