Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chapter 14 of Golombisky & Hagen's White Space is Not Your Enemy is absolutely full of great information for those who want to create a website the right way. It covers basic design elements for the web; points out problem areas that most people don't think about like color shift, font scaling, and fixed vs. fluid layouts on different monitor sizes; and discusses the purpose of websites and how to choose if a domain is right for your project versus a web log or social media profile.

For me, this information wasn't new. However, I think it would be a very useful tool for anyone starting a website. Most people, even those who use the Internet regularly, don't understand what really goes into creating your own website from scratch; the diagrams and paragraphs explaining the relationship between your computer, your domain name, and your live website spell things out well.

Most of the information in the design sections seems trivial at best, common sense at worst - but it's not. People make horribly ugly, completely unnavigable, badly organized, utterly pointless websites all the frakking time. Since our generation has grown up with the Internet, we think we know best and we're not going to pay someone to do it for us or buy a book to self-teach. Couple that with the fact that most of the time when we see a boring or badly designed website, we just back out of it instead of leaving feedback, and you can see why it's so easy for crummy sites to exist.

This isn't just a web problem. This weekend, I went to a pizza place, and perused the rest of the menu while waiting for my order. They had multiple errors, badly written sentences, and a poorly designed logo. I just shook my head and sighed - how are writers and graphic designers ever supposed to get jobs, if people don't feel the quality of things like menus is important enough to pay for? The pizza was absolutely fantastic, but badly done print materials - or websites - can leave people with little faith about your company.

Since fonts are a big part of this chapter, check out this link. It contains helpful information on typography and design in the form of infographics - and as much as I love words, I definitely appreciate the not-wordy-get-to-the-point-plus-!pictures! awesomeness of infographics. (Web Authoring students: Notice how some of the principles we learned in class are included, like how the eye travels across a page.)

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