Another great presentation from the guys at 37signals, this one focuses on the key aspects of UI design.
Once I start applying this advice to my everyday web browsing, it doesn’t take long to find a site doing something very wrong!
Isn’t it odd how the best designs and applications are the most logical – and yet to get to that simple logic is probably the hardest thing.
If you have never picked up a hammer, would you build your own house?
Having worked in the web industry for the last 5 years or so, I always get a laugh at the DIY website building crowd – that is, people who have no real experience or knowledge in web design, development and web marketing.
I don’t know about you but I would love to have a dollar for every time I have heard “my cousin John can build websites”.
Sure there are dozens of tools that are designed to empower non-technical people into being able to publish their own content – in fact that is the aim of my online auction software and other excellent systems like WordPress. So I don’t mean to create a barrier to entry that non-technical people cannot contribute and thrive online – just don’t try and build the system!
For those who think that they can produce something adequate based on their desktop publishing skills alone (such as Word, Powerpoint) – please consider that the web industry is easily as involved as any other profession, and only true experience can produce results.
In fact I would argue it is more involved that many professions, based on the rate of change, and the vast array of technologies to grasp.
Here is a simple test – if you don’t know the meaning of any term on this list, don’t build a professional website:
- standards compliance
- Server side code
- Client side code
Believe me, this is the tip of the iceberg – the list will double in size as soon as you want a functional website.
Give your business / idea a real shot at success by employing the services of a web professional.
Welcome to the Thomas Multimedia Web Design Blog!
First Topic: Web Design Standards
While this topic might sound boring already, there are some good reasons why websites should be developed to comply with web design standards. Web standards are created and modified by a group called the W3C.
The W3C, AKA the World Wide Web Consortium are an organisation that has been around since 1994, fine tuning how website language should be written. They are the recognised authority on web languages.
Some common languages can be used to create virtually any website or application. You may have heard of HTML. HTML is the predecessor to the recommended XHTML. Other languages include CSS which controls the style of a website and XML/RSS which can be use to syndicate content across different sites.
The benefit of writing a web standards compliant website are many;
- cross-browser compatability: The website will display correctly in all web browsers (eg. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape and Opera). This may seem a non-issue… doesn’t everyone use Internet Explorer anyway? Well the short answer is NO! More on the crimes of Internet Explorer later but in short they have made little effort to enforce the official web standards.
- cross-platform compatability: As the internet moves onto new platforms such as handheld-PC’s, mobile phones and other strange and not so strange appliances (think fridges), they need and should have a common language whereby the same site will render correctly.
- Performance: The less work the device has to do working out how to display the web page, the quicker it can do it! This can only be achieved with standard languages
It is alarming to note that the vast majority of websites would be in trouble if overnight internet browsers became 100% standards compliant. What’s… Read more