skin deep design

serves us best.

Getting the visual themes, balance and details some­what right may be all one has to master in web design, as that is after all what the majority of visitors see and judge sites by. That is; if they notice much of the design at all while focusing on content or latest super deals on offer.
The old “con­tent is king” mantra still holds up.

Much has been written about visual web design, but in the end good web design serves only one purpose: to assist in serving con­tent the best way possible.
Now we only need some great content providers to complete the loop…

The more sense a web page makes at source-code level, the easier it is to – liter­ally – create an arti­fi­cial struc­ture and stretch a visual design over it before serving. Visual reordering of content carrying ele­ments rela­tive to source-code order may work in some cases, but it is rarely ever optimal. The “only the visual matters” trap is very real, and easy to fall into while designing.

NOTE: I still miss some flexi­bi­lity sur­rounding CSS floats order – no real im­prove­ments in 20 years seems a bit daft, but I can live with what we have.

simplicity wins

There is no single “right” formula for good web designs – neither out­comes nor meth­ods involved, only a range from good to accep­table to bad and worse ways to build up and serve a design.

Less is almost always more in web design, but if done well and balanced, a lot of visual details can be added before it gets over­loaded. In most cases the trick is to stick with one theme and style through­out, and avoid dis­trac­ting from the main content.

Sites focusing on a single range of subjects, may do fine with strong emphasis on that subject-range in its visual design. Most sites provide the best impres­sion with toned-down and more or less subject-neutral designs though.

NOTE: I could have lightened the design a lot on this site and got it right. But, as this is a “live browser test” as much as a platform for delivering content, quite a few seemingly super­fluous, over­done, and often altered or replaced visual details are cram­med in for testing purposes.

the wider range

Over the last couple of decades, what can be included on a web site to design around or leave as stand-alone apps, has (of course) increased and evol­ved in com­plex­ity. Makes the old “web page” function less and less like a page, and more like a delivery-box in a ­ware­house for which adresses must be provided.

That the ranges of screens, devices and apps have widen tre­mend­ously in the same time­frame, also make choices about “who”, or “what”, to design for, more difficult for some. It shouldn't really matter though.
Design­wise and other­wise, what we create should work reasonably well across the entire tech­ni­cal and pro­gram­mat­i­cal range that adhere to existing standards.

Regarding the “who” part; you can't please every­one anyway, so just pick a group of potential visitors to a given site, and design it to please them.
It is my impression that many design to satisfy their own taste, and of course to meet clients' wishes and demands. Others design ac­cord­ing to what they think are good advices, mainly from others in the trade.
All good as long as the finished work meet expec­tations.

NOTE: Once the purely tech­nical condi­tions are met, I try to avoid making “improve­ments” on the under­lying work. Chances are improve­ments for some will become barriers for others.

all the same, or what…

If all designers, front-end coders and web developers followed the same formulas to the letter, the world of web design would most likely be a boring place of “same­ness” with nothing standing out. Luckily they do not, and with a bit of luck they never will get to that point.

Does not mean we should not do our best to reduce and/or eliminate as many barriers, bugs and bad solutions as possible while per­forming our web design related crafts. A state of Nirvana may last for hours after jobs well done even if nobody else notice the finer details, espe­cial­ly those behind the scene…

sincerely  georg; sign

Hageland 16.dec.2020
last rev: 17.dec.2020

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