Every year or two a fresh crop of internet blowhards decides design doesn’t matter. Indeed, they proclaim that bad design is good. Not merely is it good, it is the secret to internet wealth and success, they tell us. Whereas, they assure us, user-friendly, brand-appropriate, professional graphic design — or even mere competence — is the royal road to Failureville.
I don’t understand the siren song of this demonstrably idiotic claim. I don’t know why it seduces a new crop of assh*les each year. I only know it does. And then, just as predictably, all the year’s hot young new media designers get in a huff defending design against the fools who attacked it.
Seems to me it might be better to let the anti-design dummies rant themselves out and roll along their happy ignorant path in search of new things to attack. Such as air. Or babies.
Maybe I am jaded. Or maybe it’s hard to get exercised over inanity you’ve seen recur so many times. The assertion that “bad design is good internet” has been made by one set of dorks after another since at least 1995. One prominent consultant aside, nobody can remember who these blowhards were. They charged full bore into obscurity, as dolts generally do.
So to this year’s hot (under the collar) web designers, remember: next year, you will still be designing beautiful websites. And the people who claim that bad design is good? If they’re lucky, they will be selling apples on the street corner.
In other news
- It’s May Day. Immigrants protest, and rightfully so.
- It’s May Day. And that means a reboot.
- It’s May Day. And that means a reboot.
- It’s May Day. A day that honors worker’s rights. So it is only fitting that May Day was also the day of the Canadian Union of Public Employees website reboot. Happy May Day! Happy workers! Happy Canadians! Happy Cog redesigned this site.
In other, other news
Registration is now open for An Event Apart NYC.
In other, other, other news
An Event Apart Chicago has sold out. Whee.
Baseball weather has come to NYC. And a baseball stadium is where we’ll hold An Event Apart Atlanta in just a few days’ time. If global warming worked the other way — if the winters were getting colder each year — the world’s governments would have already worked together to reverse global warming. But when winter grows milder and spring arrives sooner, it feels so good it’s hard to realize how bad it is. But I digress.
We’re busy prepping for Atlanta, so here are some links:
- Minolta quits camera biz
- A former ad client, at one time the 3rd largest camera maker in the world, can’t compete against digital.
- “Would you write your life story in pencil?” was an ad I tried to sell them for their Maxxum line of high quality, 35mm point-and-shoot SLRs. (Instead they bought “More Maxxum Magic!”, a line I did not write for them.) Even so, it’s sad to see them go.
- Monochrom Brandmarker
- An attempt to evaluate the power of brands by making Austrian people draw twelve logos from memory, 25 people per brand. Via Coudal.com.
- Magnolia Blossom
- Mac OS X dashboard widget embeds social networking in your desktop: “Watch websites scroll across as they are bookmarked by ma.gnolia.com members. Spend less time scrolling through pages of text and find those eye-catching sites now!”
- Gapers Block
- Clean, good-looking, well written Chicago blog.
- In Progress: Logo Design (A)
- Cameron Moll on the National Gazette identity he and Jason Santa Maria are designing.
- In Progress: Logo Design (B)
- Jason Santa Maria on the National Gazette identity he and Cameron Moll are designing.
- Top 15 Skylines in the World v. 3.0
- An urban planner picks his Top 15 skylines. Via Gapers Block.
- Dieter Steffmann typefaces
- Immense archive of Dieter Steffmann fonts. “Acorn Initials” is typical Steffmann work. Re-blogged from March 2004.
- CNN.com redesigns
- 1024 wide. Looks great. Pity about non-validating table layout. Via Hivelogic.com.
- In one central place, track comments you’ve left on blogs all over the place.
- My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
- “…total access to original tracks with remix and sampling… Download all the multitracks on two of the songs. Through … Creative Commons licenses, you are free to edit, remix, sample and mutilate these tracks however you like. Add them to your own song or create a new one. Visitors are welcome to post their mixes or songs that incorporate these audio files on the site for others to hear and rate.”
- Open source content management platform that cares about accessibility and standards.
- Airbag – Styrofoam
- Adventures in food management.
- Designers must write
- “As my ability to shape both written and oral communication improves, I am better equipped to direct the work of others.” (Via Cameron Moll.)
- In Search of a Comprehensive Type Design Theory
- “Type designers might be convinced that our profession is vital to society, but we wouldn’t risk going on strike.”
- Ironic Sans – Pre-pixelated clothes
- “Stop worrying about whether or not the producer of that Reality TV show you’re on will pixelate your carefully chosen t-shirt. Beat them to the punch with pre-pixelated products!” (Via K10k.net.)
- Thank You for Smoking – main titles
- Beautiful! via Stan.
- America’s Technology Future at Risk
- A new study released by the Economic Strategy Institute explains why U.S. companies can’t compete in key new business sectors, and offers a variety of regulatory and investment prescriptions (via Thomas L. Friedman).
- Teaching at Risk: Progress and Potholes
- The Final Report of the Teaching Commission (via Thomas L. Friedman).
- It’s a great time to start a business
- Six reasons to start a business today (by 37signals’s David Heinemeier Hansson).
- IE7 Improvements and Bug Tracking
- Eric Meyer weighs in.
- W3C: Failed Commitments?
- Much ado about nothing. Forest. Trees.
- Happy Doomsday to You!
- “Washington was about one horseman short of an apocalypse yesterday.”
Ma.gnolia’s linkroll feature rules, but, like a list of “last 10 blog posts,” it is forever sending interesting content into the offscreen past. So here, frozen in time, and in some cases with expanded blurbage, are some of the latest bookmarks to appear in—and soon disappear from—the zeldman.com sidebar:
- Microsoft iPod
- A parody that says a lot about how design processes go wrong.
- Google Code: Web Authoring Statistics
- Which HTML ids and classes are most common? How many sites validate?
- Eyebrow Antics
- Illustrator Brian Tapley uses Flickr as a portfolio delivery system.
- Publish and Prosper: Blogging for Your Business
What do Boeing, General Motors, and a small bag-clip company have in common? They are all blogging about their business. It’s time for a practical book about business blogging: a book that offers concrete advice, no-nonsense research, warnings about common pitfalls, and real-world examples of business-blog successes and failures. A conversation with your market is stronger and more meaningful with a blog. When you’re ready to bridge the gap between blogging theory and business reality, this book will get you talking, easily and professionally.
- So runs the pitch for Peachpit’s upcoming Publish and Prosper: Blogging for Your Business, by DL Byron and Steve Broback (ISBN: 0321395387), now in presale mode. To save 35% and get free shipping, enter this code when you checkout: PP-234P-LKMS. (Journalists and teachers may request free evaluation copies.)
- Netdiver’s Best
- Long-running, always great design ’zine Netdiver.net publishes its Best Site Designs of 2005.
- S5 1.2a2
- Eric Meyer’s CSS-based slideshow hits 1.2 alpha 2 version.
- Open Letter to AOL
- The Open Letter to America Online is a vehicle for the entire internet community to express its “serious concern [about] AOL’s adoption of Goodmail’s CertifiedEmail, which is a threat to the free and open Internet.” The group explains:
In February 2006, AOL announced that it would accept payment for incoming emails. For these certified emails, it would skip its usual anti-spam filters and guarantee delivery for cash. Our coalition believes that the free passage of email between Internet users is a vital part of what makes the Internet work. When ISPs demand a cut of “pay-to-send” email, they’re raising tollbooths on the open Net, interfering with the passage of data by demanding protection money at the gates of their customers’ computers.
- The design portfolio of Peter Reid.
- Greg Storey blogs the creative process behind Ma.gnolia’s user interface design.
- Beggr 2.0 beta
- A one-way ticket to easy street.
- Images, Tables, & Mysterious Gaps
- It lives! Eric Meyer’s classic on CSS layout as intepreted by Gecko—core of Firefox, Mozilla, Camino, and Netscape—finds a new (and hopefully permanent) home at developer.mozilla.org. Rumor has it all the old Meyer writings are or will be available here.
- Linkology: How the Most-Linked Blogs Relate
- New York Magazine discovers blogs. I usually ignore this kind of coverage by this kind of source, but I’m linking because this is actually a good article of its kind—and of course because it includes A List Apart in its coverage (albeit with blurbage that suggests that the author doesn’t really know what he thinks he knows).
P.S. Mark in Ma.gnolia or del.icio.us or digg this page.
WHILE I’M WRAPPING Web Design World Boston, here are some links for your pleasure:
- In Search of a Perfect Plug-in Technique
- First we had Flash embedding the automated way. It worked in all browsers but it didn’t validate. Then came Flash Satay and UFO, FlashObject and Hixie’s nested objects. Which techniques are most accessible and most reliable? Macromedia accessibility expert and occasional A List Apart author Andrew Kirkpatrick checked them all out and drew conclusions worth reading.
- gotomobile: the mobile usability and UX blog
- In the U.S. a mobile phone is a cell phone for making phone calls. In the rest of the world it’s a rich two-way media device. Starting a year ago, renowned designer Kelly Goto began travelling the world researching how handhelds are used today and discovering the emerging principles of ubiquitous computing. Kelly, who is here lecturing at Web Design World, maintains this mobile usability and user experience blog, to which she posts from her handheld camera/phone/whatever.
- Seed Magazine
- This beautiful and well-written periodical explores the changing role of science in our global culture. New York’s own Mike Pick and Tim Murtaugh created the clean, elegant, and playful site design (check out the little colored seedlings at the top left).
- Got big files to share? Files so big you can’t email them? Files too big even for Basecamp hosting and posting? DropSend has you covered. This fresh-off-the-vine web application by Ryan Carson takes ease of use to a new level, working well and simply as advertised. I use it. Try it, you’ll like it.
- Folksonomy is such a lonely word
- In this New York Times Magazine feature, Daniel H. Pink explains folksonomies to the non-digerati. As most people reading this page know, “folksonomy” is IA Thomas Vander Wal’s 2004 coinage for the tag-powered, communal taxonomies that are not merely changing how websites and web products are structured but how information is perceived and categorized all over.
- Greg Storey portfolio
- I’ve always thought Greg Storey was a heck of a designer. Now you can more easily see for yourself just how good he is.
- Oh, the Plazes you’ll go!
- Plazes (beta) is a spanking new web app offering a “grassroot approach to location-aware interaction, using the local network you are connected to as location reference. Plazes allows you to share you location with the people you know and to discover people and plazes around you. It’s the navigation system for your social life and it’s absolutely free.” I’m using it right now and it is cool.