post-handling designs

a very relaxed process.

Haven't been very active in this web design section over the last half-a-year or so, but that doesn't mean I have slowed down in my work on finding practical uses for the latest functional additions to basic HTML and CSS. Lack of progress across browser-land in the areas that interest me most, is mainly why I haven't written much here lately.

As I see all web related stuff more and more as an interesting hobby rather than work, there is also less incentive to inflate what little progress there is both in web standards and in browsers. It is slow going all around these days, with very little to write about.

In earlier days – a decade or so ago – a given design didn't last very long. Browsers evolved rapidly back then, and designs – in fact entire sites – often had to be given a total make-over or be replaced with entirely new ones once every year or so to make optimal use of new browser-capabilities. Additionally, we also had to make everything (seem to) work in a number of outdated browser-versions.

These days designs can be left more or less intact for years, and only “massaged” a little now and then – mainly to satisfy the designer's lust for changes. Nothing much happens across browser-land, and what little in the way of improvements there are can be fully utilized through minor modifications and/or by adding bits and pieces to existing designs.

If redesign, or major changes, are introduced all that often on larger web sites today, it is more often than not caused by bad internal decisions regarding the latest or prev­ious versions.

Familiarity is important, and most consumers (end-users) seem to prefer things – including web sites – not to change much over time, unless there is something cata­stroph­ically wrong with them. Some design changes are cata­stroph­ic indeed, in which case they may have to be remedied rather quickly.

trendy, or not.

I have never been much into “design trends”, as they come and go with the seasons like flowers in my garden – may even call them weeds at times. New (or recirculated) design trends may give me something interesting to look into for a short while, but that's usually about it. In general I find trends a waste of time to follow, no matter how well they may appear and work while they are peaking in popularity.

Keeping an eye on end-user trends when it comes to what devices that are in general use, and how they are used, is of course of some importance when designing for end-user experience. But, as no-one can hope to make everyone happy all the time, I find maintaining a degree of cross-site stability more important than trying to fulfill individual end-users' various whims and wishes.

always testing ideas, but…

Although I am constantly testing out new ideas on my sites, overall not much is really changing over time on any of them. I am mainly adding or subtracting a little around the edges, and trimming details here and there across entire sites or on individual pages when I feel like it.

The basic ideas behind my site-designs are by now pretty much playing out as I want them to. Layouts are fairly constant, with all important elements in fixed places, and all content has a fair chance of getting through – undisturbed by visual design.

On this site I am basically letting the same CSS control all pages regardless of what HTML standard they are marked up in accordance with. The markup is about as lean (and mean) as can be, so not much to improve there. Although there are series of double selectors in the stylesheets, the CSS is also almost as good and efficient as I want it.

The only thing left to do now is to let go of basic CSS for some more old and obsolete browser-versions. Not sure why I still offer (at least some) support for some more than five year old browsers, but as it doesn't slow down action in the latest versions I so far haven't bothered with ditching the extra stylesheets.

maybe too relaxed…

Yeah, maybe, but as there is little chance of me falling behind on HTML and CSS, I see no point in rushing things on and around my own sites. I do what I do here in between other tasks – on and off the web, and am mainly preoccupied with having fun more than anything in whatever I do. Life is too short…

A friend of mine, and one who tried to expand CSS standards with some really useful stuff – Alan Gresley, died last year. His death may in a sense have put all things web in a slightly different per­spec­tive for me – affected my priorities if you like. I now tend to focus more on other ways to make use of my capacities in web design and devel­op­ment than before.

There is after all not all that much one can do in visual web design today, that could not be achieved a decade or so ago with other – although maybe a bit more complex – means. Thus, real progress is hard to find, which makes it all less interesting to work with.

That the same lack of real progress can be found in all walks of life, doesn't help any. One can get tired of trying to help others avoid doing the same mistakes again and again, no matter what area we are talking about.
So much easier to let others learn the hard way – on their own or along with whoever they choose, while I literally play my way through it all without bothering all that much about what goes on outside my own sphere.

If I get too bored, maybe I'll take up knitting…

sincerely  georg; sign

Weeki Wachee 02.apr.2015
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