Friday, 5 December 2008

The web is not a sheet of paper

Print-turned-web designers:

  1. Learn the medium you're working in. A five minute video of even the best print advert makes for a lousy TV advert. Likewise, techniques and habits refined by years of print design are often sub-optimal or flatly counter-productive when applied to the web.
  2. For the love of god, give up on pixel-perfect positioning and learn to appreciate flow layout. Sure, it makes design harder... but if you think designing flow layouts is hard, think about the poor schmuck developers who have to implement the damn things. And if you think flow layouts are ugly, let's see how good your precious pixel-perfect design works when I do something freakishly unusual like resize my browser window.
  3. Print pages are Things To Look At. Web sites are Things To Use. Prioritising aesthetics over usability or functionality is like putting a car steering wheel in the middle of the dashboard. Sure it looks nicer, but it makes the whole product useless. Incidentally, I swear if I get one more design through with a "button" image specified but no "pressed button" image (or "link" style but no "active/hover/visited link" style) I will personally bite off your head and defecate into your body-cavity. You have been warned.
  4. Conventions are not boring - conventions are your friend. Putting light-switches near doors is a convention. Sure, putting them square in the middle of the ceiling is innovative, but then so is cheesegrating your knees (hey - do you know anyone who's done it?). Innovative means "nobody else is doing it". Accept the possibility that nobody else is doing it because it's a fucking stupid idea.
  5. I don't want to "explore the interface". I want to get in, do my shit and get out again. If you think forcing users to explore the interface is such a good idea, try ripping the labels off all the cans of food in your cupboard. A couple of meals of cat-food, chilli and peaches should demonstrate exactly how "fun" this is for your users.

PANT, pant, pant... pant... ahem.

Originally via reddit.


Anonymous said...

this was a good read