Websites Have Two Layers
To keep this post focused and simple I will assume that websites have two layers:
design (UI/presentation) and code (technology/mark-up). Which layer is most
important in building a succesful website? Both you will say. But in the end
the web is about interaction. Jason
Fried at 37signals on the topic:
“There’s way too much talk about CSS and XHTML and Standards and
Accessibility and not enough talk about people. CSS and Standards Compliant
Code are just tools — you have to know what to build with these tools.”
People, people, people! Web design is a bit like a car —
the engine (technology) and everything else that makes using it bearable (interface).
Over at the wonderfully designed Airbag, thoughts
of Greg Storey follow a similar pattern:
“Now I’m all for a good conversation and exhibition of great design work
but enough is enough. Web standards and style sheets are here to stay (ya hooray!).
It’s time to move on. So let’s talk about money and metrics.”
So? Is the fuzz about XHTML, CSS and other new exciting technologies over?
Can we move on? If you buy a car you assume its engine will function. Nowadays
there are no shamelessly bad engine manufacturers left. What really differentiates
brands such as Ford, BMW and Volkswagen is the experience they sell. The automobile
industry is a mature industry. The web is not — yet. Look around. Do we
see standard compliant code everywhere? Can we assume websites have solid mark-up?
Personally I agree with both Jason and Greg. Yet I think they’re looking
in the wrong places. The blogosphere tends to talk about code. Yadi yada validation
yada yadi standards yada yada. We are part of a small group that cares and knows
about good mark-up. But there’s more happening around us. SxSW
is not solely a user experience conference, nor is it purely a design event.
SxSW just happens to attract a lot of people talking about CSS. Leave the coders
do the talking about what they know best: clean mark-up. They should not stop
innovating or spreading the word — on the contrary.
If I want to discuss all things user experience I post a message to CHI-WEB,
check the latest news at Information
Design and have a good laugh with the folks from OK/Cancel.
Oh, and maybe even read what Jakob Nielsen
has to say. It’s not a matter of “or”, it’s a matter
of “and”. We need both. I focus on design, not code — it’s
what I do and talk about. If you want to change the industry put your money
where your mouth is, but don’t tell people to stop doing what they love.
This item was posted byon Thursday, March 18th, 2004.
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