July 19th, 2010
Following up on last week’s post about things I never want to see online again, I’ve compiled a list of the 5 great new technologies which will help make those old atrocities obsolete forever.
Web Design, for the Web, you know, on a Computer
A lot of funky web designs – laden with inline scrolling, full of confusing navigation, accidentally hidden content, odd colors – are caused by designers or marketing personel who design websites on or for paper. Print designers make many fundamental mistakes when trying to design a site because they’re so locked into brochure or printed ad design that they don’t stop to think about how things will look online, how to deal with screen real estate, and how to handle a template which will be responsible for displaying varying content. Marketing managers have been known to actually print websites to paper and then discuss the design aesthetics based on the print-out! That’s like critiquing a CD mix while sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting “la la la la la”. The more that people realize web design is its own entity, the better treatment of design on the web we will see.
Solving the dilemma of boring font choices or images for headlines is the @font-face CSS rule. By allowing the designer to upload a font and define it as a style, any font can now be displayed on any machine. Although support for this is not universal, it degrades into the normal CSS font rules gracefully, so you can start using it now to enhance your projects. I actually only used this for the first time about two weeks ago, but I’m already hooked!
My favorite part about web design is chopping up a dozen tiny images to achieve rounded corners, gradients, and drop shadows. Wait… that’s my least favorite part. Thankfully, it’s something I’ll never need to do again thanks to CSS3 with it’s wonderful border-radius, gradients, and box-shadow properties. The additional wonders of multiple backgrounds, border images, text-shadows, and transitions will eliminate much hastle and enable great design.
Once an entire generation grows up online the need for explaining simple operations in great detail, for reminding users to update their 10 year-old browser, and for scaling back designs should dwindle. It will be nice to be able to design without having to be constantly reminded that half the world still somehow doesn’t know to click on links and buttons or to click the logo to return to the home page. This might not happen any time soon, and their of course will always be a need to cater to thouse who are less tech-savvy, but it’ll be amazing to not have to worry about the lowest common denominator quite so much.