[thelist] Are you designing with CSS and web standards?

raskenbo raskenbo at gmail.com
Fri Mar 11 09:42:58 CST 2005

On Fri, 11 Mar 2005 09:45:27 -0500, Joshua Olson <joshua at waetech.com> wrote:
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Rich Points
> > Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2005 11:59 PM


> A designer could be thought more of as the architect, and neither the
> engineers who plan the implementation nor the contractors who build the
> house.  Architects understand the limitations of physics, but want to create
> something innovation yet appropriate for the budget and target market.
> Analogize this with good web designers... they understand the limitations of
> the medium (pixels, browser widths, etc) and understand the tenets of
> usability, but shouldn't be hampered by the box model hacks, lack of opacity
> in Opera, the 3-pixel jog bug in IE, or any of the other BS associated with
> implementing.  Let designers do what they do... create appropriate solutions
> to the client's needs from a purely visual standpoint... then let the
> engineers do what they do... make the designer's vision a reality.


I believe that it is important to use clear terminology. A "web
designer" is not the same as a "graphic designer". And the roles of
various people involved in a web project are seldom as cut and dry as
this thread sometimes suggests. The web is a complex and evolving
media that requires people with overlapping skill sets.

In my experience, a good web designer typically has a varied skill set
(visual design, information architecture design, usability design,
structural design, code design...) and understands the big picture. A
web designer might not excel at all of the above but will know enough
to understand the limitations and strengths of the web medium.

A graphic designer, who is working on a web project, who does not
understand the web medium should:

a - learn about it, or
b - work in tandem with someone who does.

Why? Because the reality is that some browsers are broken and some
visual designs are difficult to achieve using (or not using) web
standards. IF a beautiful visual design requires complicated hacks,
hard to maintain code, user agent capability issues.... costs will

In most cases $$$ does matter. It's also true that most sites will not
benefit from pure "visual standpoint" design. Compromise is required.

What's wrong with most sites having common/similar looks and features
if they work. The fact is that most sites do benefit from using
standards (lower maintenance costs, portability...)
Ken Chase
Freelance Web Design

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