Sunday, 13 August, 2006

Today the quest for the perfect web design has seem to of split into two seperate directions, corporate designers look for the defacto AJAX based solution with all-singing-all-dancing graphics and flash animations, personal sites on the other hand are moving towards a more simplistic design point, hardly any images and all CSS rendering wherever possible. - Nik Doof

I agree completly with this statement. As you may or may not have realised, this site contains the minimial amount of images. Apart from the occasional emoticon, the blog has absolutely no images what-so-ever.

I think the reason for this is that personal web-sites are typically template driven. Software like WordPress or .Text understand that CSS is extremely powerful and design their software to maximise the use of this.

For these people it makes sense to make your template as CSS compliant as possible. It allows people to change the look and feel of their site very easily and allows your blogging software to be customized with readily available tools.

In business, the focuses are different. All but the smallest of companies outsource the design of their web-site. It is in the web-designers' interest to actively prevent maintenance of the site by their customers. Allowing them to effectively maintain design could result in a loss of repeat business.

It is my opinion that this alone is why we see a lot more of this buzzword bullshit. Every vendor wants to show that their company is better than the next. How better to do this than sling around a bunch of meaningless jargon? We see all these supposedly revolutionary technologies branded under the ambiguous term Web 2.0.

Consider me thoroughly underwhelmed. Of all the supposed Web 2.0 technologies, Gmail is probably the best designed and most useful but it is merely a refinement on web-mail technology that has been around since at least 1995. It is hardly world changing.

Myspace is an requiem for web-design and at its core is simply a rehash of Geocities. I don't want go in to why I hate this site here, as I've done this before. What I will say is that what it provides is not a revolution. The explosion in MySpace growth represents the point in time when having your own corner of the Web stopped being the reserve of geeks and came in to the mainstream. From a technological point of view, it is no different in style from Geocities but Geocities did it first and they did it better.

Flickr is tied directly to the explosion in digital camera use. It is an obvious idea to anyone in the field and had Fickr not existed there would have been someone else there to provide the technology.

Much like the services which Web 2.0 is supposed to beget, the underlying technology that drives it simply a rehash of pre-existing technology. XML/RPC has been around for at least five years.

Put simply, Web 2.0 is a marketing campaign by web-designers and web-technology companies alike to get additional revenue out of a maturing market. It has nothing to do with the emergence of new technology. The design of corporate web-sites is a reflection of this impulse.

Where profit is not the motivating factor in designing web-sites there is an emphasis on clean design and maintainability. This is because this makes your product more attractive than your competitors when you're trying to sell a template based product.

The difference Nik_Doof observed can be explained by this difference in motivation.


14:17:00 GMT | #Randomness | Permalink
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