Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: You've never owned the look and feel ...

Author:Dan Lyke
Posted:9/28/1999; 5:06:08 PM
Topic:Windows apps on Linux: the real reason
Msg #:11560 (In response to 11559)
Prev/Next:11559 / 11561

Like Cameron, my website lets users have some choice over color preferences, and the default is the browser's default.

There are a couple of reasons for a designer to override my preferred view of a document:

Guess who the designer's paid by.

Guess the goal (even though it's usually unconscious) of the work of most web designers.

The recent conversion of CNN's customized interface is a perfect example: I used to have control over when my windows popped up, have easy linking to individual stories. I used to be one click from the listings of my custom documents. Now I've got to have JavaScript and style sheets enabled (which disables my default fonts, chosen for readability), and I get stories in dinky little windows with acres of bright flashy navigation crap that pop up in assorted different places on my screen.

Too many web sites are like this.

A simpler example is designers who insist on changing my colors to dark on a light color. If my primary mode of reading was via hardcopy, then I could buy the argument that this is easier to read. But it's not. I spend the majority of my life reading off of a scren, and I (and most others who spend similar hours in front of a CRT) far prefer light text on a dark background.

If designers were working to optimize my experience, then I'd be all for them, and happily hand over my browsing experience to them. But way too many of them aren't, way too many of them are trying to force me to use a specific web browser with specific settings so I get the advertising brochure laid out exactly as they intended, not the data in a useable format.

This is getting worse, and it's getting worse at a time when many of us are finally figuring out that the web isn't about the browser experience, it's about bots that go out and do a lot of our browsing for us. Over-design is making that way harder than it has to be, and until there's a compelling reason for people to publish XML it's only going to get worse.

And because XML lets us bypass all the flash, all the obfuscation, all the advertising, all the crap, there's no economic incentive to go for it.

I predict things are going to get a lot worse.

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