outsmarting visitors

is not the best strategy.

When entering a site/page for the first time, very few visitors will appre­ciate being pre­sen­ted with a series of guessing games in order to make sense of it. By all means be smart about the entire design process, but make sure to provide visitors with enough familiar cues and pointers to make them feel welcome and to find their way around.

Personally I am kind of fond of smart solutions in web designs, but not the kind that get in the way of visitors' ability to explore and enjoy a site. I rather look for ways to smarten up the code without losing any­thing important, than add effects for the sake of adding them.
Nothing has to be what it looks like in the world of arti­fi­cial make-believe, so every­thing we do may as well be real from the bottom up.

visual design and structure…

To many the visual design is all the “design” there is in web design, and for all I know they may be right. Not much else to see, is there?
Well, our designs can be “viewed” with and without CSS and with and without JavaScript, and images and other graphics can also be left out. For any and all web designers, developers, and not least site owners, it makes sense to make sure all relevant content gets delivered and that they other­wise per­form reason­able well without styling and advanced func­tion­ality, and without graphics in any form – espe­ci­ally if we are promoting or selling something.
Why some users choose to, or simply have to, filter any of our well-formed design details out, is really none of our busi­ness. We only have to make sure every­one can make the most out of the sites we are responsible for.

Only the very simplest sites/​pages have much to offer in today's socie­ties without at least some minimal styling and graphics. Thus, we may as well test out how much content visitors are left with if/​when parts or most of our “designs” are filtered out at their end for what­ever reason, before some­one bothers to tell us about our failures.
The majority of visitors will not bother to inform us about what does not work for them. They will just leave, and most likely never return … too many alternatives.

attracting attention…

Visual attention-drawers most definitely have their place in web design, even if their roles may be over­rated in a world where just about every­thing calls for our attention. However, if such features upset order or meaning in the code-flow and thereby in the content, they should, in my opinion, be cor­rec­ted or be left out.
As visitor I do of course not have much of a say on such matters, and if the designers behind flawed and/​or over­used features do not care, I may as well just cut my own irri­ta­tion short by leaving their sites.

Such reali­za­tions from being on both sides of web design – as pro­ducer and user – for decades, have and continue to shape my very personal thoughts and rules related to “the art of web design”. Actual progress is as slow and behind across the inter­net as every­where else, and there are of course no perfect solu­tions that will cover all situa­tions designers and visitors can agree some­what on anyway. Not to forget what those who write and interpret standards, rules and regulations in the various areas may come up with…

That web designers can form and mani­pu­late just about any shape for display on flat screens, is fine but a bit old in the year 2022. The same goes for the “undesigned” look, that always works fine for sales- and info-pages on screens of any size – less clutter on the smallest screens.
Whatever new design-trends that are released by any­one, we have been there before, and will be there again some time in the not too distant future. Recir­cu­la­ting visual trends is more the norm than the excep­tion on the inter­net too…

educating oneself

Those who are under the illusion that they already know how to solve all problems that can occur between their designs and the visitors' under­standing and appre­ci­a­tion of same, may as well stay there. Evolu­tion on and off the inter­net will over time bring them back to reality.

All others are adviced to search for and pick up all the infor­ma­tion they can find on how to create the simplest, most robust and func­tional content-delivery systems they can manage, with­out crowding their work with doubled-up irre­le­vant stuff to cope with non-existing problems or parts of standards and rules that do not apply.
Always remember: visitors are not morons that need to be spoon-fed instruc­tions. They just want to get on with their busi­ness with­out being hampered along the route.

sincerely  georg; sign

Hageland 25.feb.2022
last rev: 25.feb.2022

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