[Theforum] Article bio design concept

Madhu Menon webguru at vsnl.net
Tue Dec 11 01:56:10 CST 2001

At 11:29 AM 12/11/2001, isaac typed these words:
>Yes, the way I see it, the excuses for custom stylesheets are:
>  - allow user to set font sizes for increased legibility

This goal is laudable, and is fairly simple to do. Heck, our own aardvark 
and Martin have written evolt articles showing how to do this. I don't mind 
implementing a "increase/decrease text size" feature.

>  - allow user to set colours for increased contrast (and thus legibility)

Shouldn't our design be developed with legibility and contrast in mind 
anyway? If you're doing this for people who have problems with their 
eyesight, we could simply do ONE high-contrast scheme and give the user the 
option to switch to that.

>  - showing off

I mean no disrespect towards the folks who are working on the development 
of the site, but I think this is the probable (and lamest) reason for doing 
it - because we *want to*. It's a "cool" feature. And I think it just 
proves that developers tend to choose features not by usefulness, but how 
much fun it is to do.

I can't see why custom stylesheets are so important, unless our default 
design and colour schemes are so fucked (pardon my French) that people 
would rather see it in different colours. It'll create a buzz for a while, 
but we're not www.k10k.net
We don't exist to be on the cutting edge and show off (which is why we've 
taken so much trouble to make our site degrade gracefully.)

Like Rudy wrote earlier, it's about the *content*. People come here to 
learn something and share knowledge, and we should never forget: *that* is 
the primary goal of the site.

Ultimately, you decide on implementing a feature using the following guides:

1) How useful is it?
2) Does it help in the goals of the site?
3) How much effort does it take? Will it create other problems?
4) What resources do we have to implement it?

IMNSHO, the answer to 1) is "not much" (nothing that implementing a 
"increase/decrease text size" and possibly a "high contrast stylesheet" 
feature can't fix)

Answer 2: Not really! All it does is make sure that evolt.org looks 
different on a hundred different PCs. IMO, it destroys the identity of the 
site. If I were a DHTML guru and wanted to showcae my skills (see 
www.scottandrew.com), then yes, this would be useful. ATM, we're doing all 
this so some dezyner can see evolt with green text on a purple background :(

Answer 3: "a LOT" and "a LOT". Whenever a debate on design issues takes 
place, somebody inevitably says, "but it will create problems with our 
custom stylesheet implementation, so we can't do that."

Answer 4: Unlimited.

No? You're right, we have limited resources. In that case, why don't we 
work on "must have" features instead of (IMO), "looks cool" features. Let's 
do a triage and see what's the most important.

IMO, if you weigh usefulness against potential problems, it just ain't 
worth it. :|

And that's certainly more than 2 cents ;)



<<<   *   >>>
Madhu Menon
User Experience Consultant
e-mail: webguru at vsnl.net

More information about the theforum mailing list