The SXSW conference in the US has seen a few (notable) people voicing their concerns over a growing trend in web design. Several web designers and developers seem to be over-concerned with the techniques in building a website, (such as pure CSS driven layouts and semantic markup) whilst losing focus in what truly matters in the construction of the website — it’s design, usability and functionality.
This struck a chord in myself. I’ve always maintained that you can just as easily have an awful website written in pure CSS as you can with a mess of nested tables. Validation by no means guarantees you have a ‘good’ website. A good website to me involves a number of factors (in order) —
- Informative with high quality content.
- Intuitive to use.
- Aesthetically pleasing.
The way it was marked up maybe comes in joint third on that list.
That is not say that I care about the quality of the markup. As a web developer myself, of all people, I care about this stuff, but it should never be used as some kind of justification of a good website. I fully expect that the people authoring websites should use the best tools for the job (at this moment in time, CSS and XHTML) and to write code that adheres to current good practice (WAI guidelines and web standards). This should be taken as read, but never as proof of a job well done. It’s only one part of a much larger picture.
Further commentary —
- Jeffrey Veen (Adaptive Path) — I don’t care about accessibility (and comments on Helium-3)
- Jason Fried (37 Signals) — Web Design going in the wrong direction?
- Ben Henick (WASP) — What’s the point… and over emphasis on technique?
- Paul Scrivens (Whitespace) — They Are Just Tools Man
- Greg Storey (Airbag) — Standard Angst
Posted 9 years, 8 months ago