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Design, random musings, and the Web. Since 1977


When Human Brain Needs an Update

Chris PirilloSome
mucho smart people have ranted
about and analyzed
the Lockergnome affair in much detail. What Lockergnome did is incomprehensible
for rationally thinking people. That’s a fact, right? I really have a
hard time believing they can justify the change to themselves, or their audience
for that matter. I do however think Pirillo is a smart guy and he’s a
funny geek on occasion. But this time I guess he missed a few braincells —
and it surely isn’t funny. Anyway, this whole Lockergnome debate reminds
us of the harsh truth. The human brain can’t adapt as fast as technology

While I think the current Lockergnome website is deplorable I can see how the
decision came to be. Not the reasons they mention per se, something a bit more
psychology related. Let me put it this way: how do you feel when upgrading your
favorite software or application? I always think it’s a bit scary. Sometimes
new software releases will require users to adapt to a new environment, new
tools or lost features. While my subconscience knows that a new release will
eventually make me achieve my goals faster or better, I have a hard time seeing
the long term benefits as opposed to the short term required investment in time,
money and efforts.

Coding with web standards is pretty much the same. Yes, it took me some time
to kick the old habits and abandon my WYSIWYG editor. But you know what? In
the end it made me a better designer, and I now know why it was and is worth
the short term investment in time, energy and gallons of coffee. Don’t
get me wrong, I’m still struggling and web standards isn’t coding
nirvana. But it sure is a hell of a better place than tables. Can you imagine
any designer worth his salt throwing his comps together in Photoshop 3 —
or people serious about IT using Windows 95? Probably not. Though I could argue
that anyone serious about IT should not use Windows at all.

So Chris, why the fear? You of all people…

This item was posted by dhilhorst on Thursday, March 11th, 2004.


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4 comments on “When Human Brain Needs an Update”

  1. Posted by Chris Vincent on Thursday, March 11th, 2004.

    To quote the Quizno’s commercial: “I fear change, and will keep my bushes.”

    To point cynically at human nature: “I hate what I do not understand.”

    The same attitudes caused genocide and unnecessary war more than once in this century, and thousands of other times over the history of human civilization. From a scale as grand as global dominance to as miniscule as a website, we’re all the same. It’s all in how you adapt.

  2. Posted by Tony on Friday, March 12th, 2004.

    This is such an insane issue that causes normally rational people to behave like crazy people. Here’s an opposite end of the spectrum example:

    I’m a firm believer that web standards are currently the right direction. I also understand the need for restraint and understanding.

    I’ve gotten (is that a word?) myself into much trouble on a forum I frequent over a debate about tables. See, I believe in the concept that tables should not be used for page layout…web standards, and all. But, there are some on the forum that think tableless design means no tables…EVER. Try as I might to get them to comprehend the difference between using tables for layout (usually bad) and using tables for tabular data (good, proper, and correct), I keep running into a wall.

    There are *some* on the far end of the web standards debate that believe *everything* should be done without tables. This is just crazy. I’ve been debating with these lunkheads about why you shouldn’t convert your calendars to pure CSS using divs and spans. Sure, it’s an excellent exercise to teach yourself CSS, but should not be used in practice. Calendars *are* tabular data. To prove this point, I’ve asked these folks to create their CSS tables, then turn CSS off in their browser. Does the data still make sense? The answer is no. However, they still insist that pure CSS – no tables ever – is the one and only answer, and anyone (like me) who thinks otherwise is stuck in the dark ages.

    But, in reference to your article: I, too, think Lockergnome is making a hasty mistake.

  3. Posted by KillAllDash9 on Friday, March 12th, 2004.

    You should let us know where this forum is. Maybe if we all gang up on them… :-)

  4. Posted by jharr on Friday, March 12th, 2004.

    This reminds me so much of the “my grandson can build my webpage” mentality. When I have trouble with my car I go to a mechanic. I don’t mess with it because it’s more complex then I know how to fix and it’s important it’s done right because I need to get to work and keep my family safe. So why is that any different when it comes to designing and implementing a professional corporate website?

    It looks like Lockergnome has avoided the cost of having a design professional redesign the site and feels that installing Windows and hardware tewaking a PC somehow have anything to do with designing a professional site. The skills it takes to design and implement a truly usable and compliant site have little to do with traditional geek talents. Apparently folks still have a lot to learn.