[thelist] Re: How do you work with other web designers?

Rosalie Sennett rsennett at brainlink.com
Thu Jan 20 20:49:39 CST 2005

Sorry for the long post....

Ah... See, I think the question appears to be
"How does someone who learned webbie things from the code first communicate
with someone who learned webbie things from the art first.

Examples.  Bring them over to the dark side... show them the error of their
ways... standards are good.

People don't want to make the extra effort to conform to things that are
explained in vapor... the difference between coding something one way and
coding another (gui only users are notorious for embedding tags where they
don't belong, because they're flying blind...) means nothing to a purely
visual person if the end product is the same.

The thing with Dreamweaver Design view is that it is buggy... not that it is
more right than the browser output... that 'truth' makes all the difference.

I use a combination of code and design view and I preview in browser. Not
hard habit to pick up... but you have to prove your case if you want them to
make that extra click.

So you have to show them why these things are bad. There are reasons why the
standards exist and those of us who are bitheads, we get it right away.
Artist types may not. It is all about frame of reference.

In the early 90's, I rallied for the Print Publishing Department, to be the
ones to create and maintain our company's external web site. The marketing
vp's wanted to hire outside group, and I, as the only one really versed in
web stuff at the time, knew that we really had much more maintenance
required than any web service group in 1994 could handle.  So I won my
argument and now had to train these print designers and writers, to do web
stuff. There was one technical person who had researched on her own and was
at least on the same chapter as I, if not the same page.

So together, we tried to explain why certain standards were required. Why
certain designs just wouldn't work on the web (this was, as I said, early
90's when stuff sometimes was just not possible yet) and why one thing
worked better than another.

They laughed at us... it wasn't pretty. I had a HUGE bottle of Tums in my
desk drawer...

GIF vs JPG  "Oh." The designer said, looking at all the furry edges I showed
her when they chose the wrong format...

Broswer Safe Colors (back when people really DID only have 16 colors) "Oh"
she said... when I showed her what happened when you chose print colors and
not screen colors... those dots and hashes are really classy eh?

Popcorn graphics:  "Oh", she said when I showed her how long the 10 meg
graphic took to load, as opposed to the chopped up and optimized version.
(you had to optimize by hand in photoshop back then)

They groused when I explained that they had to code banner ads uniquely to
preserve the click trail.

They whined when I suggested that we had to save a copy of each form result
in a text file with a date stamp instead of just relying on email and the
big black hole.

They scoffed when I suggested that hiring a technical guy who was straight
out of school was probably not good... until I showed them his first java
applet that took 10 minutes to load because it weighed 5000lbs...

Needless to say, the standards I put in place, are still in use today...
Except I'm pretty sure the people in the pubs department think it was all
their idea. <g>

Which is fine with me... as long as they stick to it. They are the experts
now... and that's great.

Incidentally, I had to teach the writers why making someone scroll was
bad... how to write blurbs... why clicking more than three times would lose
the audience...   standards are good.  

The other day, someone used the term "Blurbhead" like it was something you'd
find in the dictionary. That was a term I coined back when I was showing the
writers how to lay out pages... pretty humbling!


"All my life I've wanted to be somebody; I see now I should have been more
 - Lily Tomlin

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