design concept (was RE: [thelist] IE Headaches (Table/Imagelayout) + CSS)

Joshua Olson joshua at
Mon Dec 27 18:02:39 CST 2004

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Matt Warden
> Sent: Monday, December 27, 2004 6:34 PM
> Maybe "never heard of" is a bit of exaggeration, but the point that
> the article I referenced and (I believe) Joel are making is that it is
> impossible to innovate if one is limiting design tools to those that
> exist already.


Good point and well said.  So far so good.

> If designers everywhere excluded rounded corners from their design
> concepts just because there is no direct way to implement them with
> CSS and HTML, then we would not have the techniques for rounded
> corners that we have today and we would not have native support for
> them in Mozilla and CSS3.

I don't think any reasonable person would exclude rounded corners from a
design just because of strict adherence to CSS and HTML and the additional
complexity involved with working them on older browsers.  That's a trivial
example, for the most part, and not very creative.

For my part, I was considering examples such as the following:

- Drop shadowing all text on every page of a web site.  It may be perfectly
reasonable from a design standpoint, but doesn't make sense in the current
limitations of the web--especially if you want resizable text and are
concerned about aliasing!
- Text flowing irregularly around images.  Yes, this can be done using fugly
div hacks, etc, but it's not realistic if the client wants to swap in their
own images on a whim.
- Repeated backgrounds that flow/transition into static elements smoothly.
Again, may be perfectly valid from a design/visual standpoint, but "hard" to
build using web techniques depending on what sort of liquidity you want to
build into the design.

I expect my designers to be creative and let their imaginations, within the
impression the client wants to make, guide their designs.  But, I also
expect them to help the business be profitable in the long run.

As my designers have proven time and time again, a designer that understand
limitations is not necessarily one that won't push the envelope and be
creative.  Alas, a designer who understands the limitations produces the
final product faster.

>From a business perspective, I'd rather receive a doable design on the first
go-around than waste time massaging every design that comes across my desk.
As a non-designer, I expect a majority of my time to be spent on other

Joshua Olson
Web Application Engineer
WAE Tech Inc.

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