Designer vs. Designer

Gerry McGovern wrote this in a column about web design:

"The role of web graphic design has been vastly over-hyped. It has a function in information architecture, but a minor one. Much more important are the skills of metadata, navigation and search design."

He goes on to tell the tale of a graphic designer who berated him for downplaying graphic design, and found the graphic designer's site to be less than spectatcular, full of the sound and fury ... McGovern continues:

"These designers are wedded to what is cool -- to what sparkles, shines and moves. They design websites that often actively discourage the fundamental activity that the Web was designed for. And what is that? Reading."

Reading? Is that what the web is all about? He continues:

"Let's repeat the word: reading. People spend most of their time on the Web reading. They read a webpage (it is called a 'page'). They read search results. They read their way through a purchase process. They read a discussion forum. They read their way through 'chat.' They read the instructions that allow them to download audio and video.

"When designing a website, you need to focus on two things over and above everything else:
1. Helping the visitor find the information they need as quickly as possible.
2. Presenting this information in the most readable format.

"In web design you should plan for rigidity in the organization of the content and flexibility in its layout. ... once you've placed the 'Home' link in the top left hand corner of your website, it should be left there for the next ten years ... Flexibility is required in how content is laid out because the actual content on a website should be continuously changing."
Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/07/02 at 11:03 AM
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