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Home » Archives » June 2005 » Jackasses and Inspiration [Previous entry: "Design Psychology"] [Next entry: "Tired all the time"] 06/21/2005: "Jackasses and Inspiration" listening to: Pugs & Kelly
feeling: Fine...

I read this really great interview today.

It was talking about how there is so little original work on the web because the vast majority of people who design and build websites are using other people's products to build their own. This leads to a lot of sites that look and work the same, because you are stuck with the limitations of the system you use to build.

I know a little bit about this...because I use GoLive 6. I need to upgrade, because I've played with GoLive CS and now there is GoLive CS2, and I know CS dealt with CSS (that's cascading style sheets, don't you know) a lot better. Now, I tend to do most of my work in CSS, and I like to use a lot of CSS2, so it's silly that my IDE (that's integrated development environment) doesn't deal with it well at all. I've basically been using it for the syntax highlighting and some Javascript.
So, anyway, I thought that interview is great. Design is not your ability to assemble components.

In this interview another topic came up that I happen to feel strongly about, and that is Jakob Nielsen. Jakob Nielsen is an interface designer for Microsoft, and the author and co-author of many books on website usability. However, his opinion isn't worth the ink it's printed with, in my opinion, because his "usability" principles are the stuff I hear people complain about all the time. He advocates chocking your homepage with a cacophony of "content of interest", regards negative (white) space as wasted, and interface elements other than buttons and logos as "filler."

He's also the jackass that says that the only place to put a logo is in the upper left corner, and that the only size to put it there is 74 pixels square.

It's exactly this kind of 'design to meet the statistical average' that is killing me inside.
The other thing that is killing me is that as I surf around looking for inspiration, I find all this random, sometimes ugly, but mostly interesting (mostly) stuff that isn't commercially viable. I mean, I am interested in design's ability to communicate, but to what point can I rely on the user to perceive what I am throwing out there if I don't tell them what the hell they are supposed to be doing.