ordnung muß sein
anywhere but here.
When I see to what length some web designers are willing to go to make their designs look exactly this or that way across browser-land, the German proverb: “ordnung muß sein”, comes to mind. Best translated into “there must be order”, those few words say a lot.
Order is good, but only to a degree. Too much order and everything becomes predictable and rather dull. Also easy to become disoriented and lose track of where we are if there is too much order in visual web design, simply because everything looks the same everywhere and we cannot even remember where we were.
Now, even if one – like me – tries to introduce a little “disorder” to liven things up a bit, that too tends to become rather predictable over time. Repetitions sneak in, and before one knows it the order is restored and ones design looks like all others.
One has to be very creative and inventive to be able to introduce something new and different in ones web designs compared to everybody else's, and if it is any good it most likely will be copied and spread and become part of design trends.
Having to come up with something totally new at least every few months just to stay above the rest on the web design market, can't be easy. Maybe designers that innovative and capable exist, but so far I haven't encountered anyone that good, that I can remember.
not the right tools?
I don't think lack of web design tools cause real problems. Nor does lack
of browser support for the tools we have.
images etc together, makes for a pretty acceptable canvas and toolset for
The divide between those who see themselves primarily as designers, with front-end coders on the other side, may be more of a hinder for a rapid innovation rate in web design.
Ideas can develop quickly, but if there is a long delay, or even worse: communication failure between idea and realization stages, much of the original idea may get lost and/or not be well enough tailored to the media.
This gap between visual design and finished product, can be bridged and/or closed entirely if we have good visual designers who also know their way around the design tools and media. We may also look at it the other way round, as there are good front-end coders who have become quite familiar with the wide field of visual design through their work.
Designing and coding are professions that are more about learning the trade than about talent one is born with. Thus, anyone with normal abilities to learn on the job, can cover as many web related professions and fields as s/he wants.
I think we have many in the “combined professions” classes in web design, which probably is the reason why we, despite everything, do see many good visual designs that also function well.
spotting the simple but unique
To me a good web design is simple and functional, but to be really good it must also have that little extra “something” that makes me spot it and remember it in a positive way.
That “something” may be an added detail that is easy to remember, but it may also be something that is “missing” in a design compared to the vast majority of web sites. Just “being different” isn't enough though, a site and its design must also make overall sense – and that sure isn't always so.
I won't list any of the sites I personally think are rather good today, as they may be redesigned into something that looks and feels a lot less interesting tomorrow. Happens all the time, as trends overwhelm quality and uniqueness everywhere.
Taste in web design and overall site functionality, is also a rather confusing matter. There isn't even some form of consensus about what is really good and what is really bad out here. What I think is fine may not be worth much to others, and visa versa.
We can, and maybe should, spend time trying to figure out what order and rules are valid today. One must after all know them quite well in order to break out of them in a somewhat orderlyfashion.
11.aug.2016 - updated SSR image in side-column + minor text revisions.
last rev: 11.aug.2016