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

Joshua Olson joshua at waetech.com
Fri Mar 11 10:26:02 CST 2005

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mike Roy
> Sent: Friday, March 11, 2005 10:35 AM

> > 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.  
> Hmmm ... that's a nice idea at first glance, but any functional
> designer (houses, cars, websites) had better think thier design
> through to implementation or there is real danger that:
> * the design will be compromised to facilitate something the designer
> didn't take into account. (plumbing, interior headroom, load times)
> -or-
> * the design will be adhered to strictly at the expense of some other
> dimension (energy  efficiency, safety, browser compatability)
> Examples: We've all seen ugly cars and I understand some of Frank Loyd
> Wrights most beautiful houses are not ideal places to live.


What you've just described would be typical "team" interactions.  A designer
doesn't work in a vacuum all the time.  If something doesn't work from an
implementation standpoint, make the designer rework that portion of the
design.  As any designer works on projects, they eventually understand
limitations of the medium and of what clients are willing to accept.  I'm
not saying that they know CSS or any technical stuff... I'm just saying that
they know the limitations of what their team can implement and how "far out"
they can go before the clients cringe.

Ken Chase then added his thoughts, to which I agree.  

My experience has been that graphic artists with little or no preconceptions
about HTML and CSS tend to product more "out of the box" designs.  As with
any team environment (yes, all of my thoughts have been geared toward
specialization of skills, which then mandates a team rather than a one
person shop), communication and learning how to work together are paramount
to success.  Developers, working within their own skills, need to coordinate
with the designer to come up with a design they can actually implement.  The
better the CSS developer, the fewer compromises the designer will have to

Lastly, please not that I'm putting the onus of understanding web usability
issues in the hand of the designer as well as the developer.  They have to
understand how the eye scans a page, how logical placement of elements
affects a users experience, how the medium works (browser sizes, in pixels),
etc.  The designer still has to know the medium.  :-)  Nobody gets off that

Joshua Olson
Web Application Engineer
WAE Tech Inc.


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