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Hugo
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http://www.zeldman.com/daily/0605c.shtml

Found Zeldmans views on the state of entries to the reboot competition and the general standards of design - especially as taught by collages- amusing

I was also fascinated by the fact that with two of the sites that he lists as noteworthy, one is non validating and full of little coding errors and the other is a slow loading Flash front end :?
Which seems strange when presented by this guru of 'Standards' and 'Semantics'

However his comments towards the bottom are of particular note as an insight to the mans thinking

Quote:
There are geeks out there who’ve memorized both techniques and can argue passionately in defense of one or the other, but I am not one of them. Although I am fairly adept at CSS layout, I cannot keep track of all the tricks and hacks—partly because I prefer to think about content and design. (No offense is intended to those for whom CSS is an art form in itself; different strokes.)


Yikes, I've memorized the last one not sure to what the first refers, but I love the comments regarding bookmarking useful CSS related information as a means of having a reference to all the hacks and workarounds needed and how he gave up bookmarking after around the 100 mark as just not worth it.

My regard for the man increases even more after reading this page Smile
I'm just not sure about the non-validating site though nor the flash one Oups

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

Quote:
There are geeks out there who’ve memorized both techniques and can argue passionately in defense of one or the other, but I am not one of them. Although I am fairly adept at CSS layout, I cannot keep track of all the tricks and hacks—partly because I prefer to think about content and design. (No offense is intended to those for whom CSS is an art form in itself; different strokes.)

I'm getting like this. It seems pointless trying to get your design looking exactly the same in FF and IE, when you should be concentrating on what makes up your website.

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

thepineapplehead wrote:

I'm getting like this. It seems pointless trying to get your design looking exactly the same in FF and IE, when you should be concentrating on what makes up your website.

Excellent point.

I too have "a few" bookmarks - I've organised them enough times but I still can't find anything in under the time it would take me to Google it again anyway!

I'm suprised somehow that there's so many Flash sites on Zeldman's list.

My strategy is so simple an idiot could have devised it!

"Also, your CSS (no offence) makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a rusty spoon" - TPH

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

I'll throw my agreement into the ring. I don't bother with hacks and tricks and had to struggle for a long time to realize that a lot of people talk of these as if they are the norm for CSS coding. For example, float. Too many times float is used as an overall layout tool but then the same coder struggles with his page breaking apart. But floats were never intended for that so I only use floats, for example, when I have an image that text needs to float around, as originally intended.

And that is where all the hacks and tricks and problems come from. When people try and make CSS work like Photoshop or Illustrator. It ain't there yet. So you deal with the cards that are dealt you and you're much better off if you do.

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

Hugo, I agree regarding the some of the sites he lists. and I was disappointed in the fact that his book (as great as it is) does still use tables and a transitional doctype throughout. I thought we were striving for tableless and strict?

however, hearing him in person () there were 2 things that came across. firstly that people are designing for the real work and recognises that people take time to change, and I think he's, not happy, but at least appreciates the current progress. some progress is better than no progress kinda attitude. in other words, better that people use transitional with 1 or 2 tables in their design, than no doctype and the usual nested table mess.

the other thing that came across was that there is a lot of repetitiveness on the net in terms of design. so, people who do "good" design need to be recognised. he also made the point that often it is young people doing these designs, and they need to be supported and not flamed, and then encouraged to turn towards the light that is standards and accessibility.

btw, he's brilliant in person.



larmyia

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

larmyia wrote:
()

First of all, I was unaware csscreator had a fellatio emoticon. Right on. The real reason for this post isn't to praise some chimerical smiley, it's to talk about Zeldman, Design, Web Standards, and Us. Most of us are who are gifted in one thing, are crippled in another. I can understand and apply web standards to sites I build with much aplomb, but I have the graphical prowess of a retarded 8-year-old. Actually, the 8-year-old probably has me beat. Retarded people like "pretty colors" and I can't even put together a decent complimentary color scheme.

Zeldman has all the web standards aplomb that I (and most of the better CSS people here) have in addition to a solid graphic design base. In addition to these well-balanced skills, the man can write pretty well. If he was only one of these things and not all of them, we wouldn't be writing too much about the Z-man. It's true that Zeldman favored a flash site and a non-validating site as relaunch favorites, but he's earned that luxury. He's put his time in on both sides of the coin, standards and design, and doesn't need to be as obsessed with validation as we are, as much as we'd like him to be one of us.

Personally, I've been feeling stuck behind this lense of standards. It's actually less of a lense and more of a blanket. I'm hiding from the truth that right now I'm nothing more than a sub-par designer with a good head for web standards. The only solace I take from seeing some graphic designer's eye-popping, original creation is that it doesn't validate--and that's pretty sad. What a small, pitiful, schadenfreude-filled world I exist in. The thing is, I'm sure I'm not alone. I'm tired of hiding behind standards. Yes, they are as important as the visual aesthetic, but no more important than that.

I'm ready to show some guts out there and produce something that actually looks good. And yes, it will still validate.

- Antibland

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

Antibland, lets keep it clean please Smile

But seriously that's an excellent piece of writing antibland and you've understood things exactly and was indeed the reason that I posted the article up , it wasn't so much that I was actually shocked by the inclusion of non-validating sites, as he clearly was judging to a set of criteria and as you so appositely point out- is the only solace we can take from these well designed sites that they don't validate- shame on us !.

The obsession with validation and standards can at times be rather unhealthy and indeed have found myself becoming more and more nervous about every line of code that I write to the point that I felt browbeaten, but I have had an epiphany and relaxed on that side of things, I know how to write valid semantic code, it's time to stop obsessing about it as the sole reason for existence and to get on with things.

I posted Zeldmans entry for two reasons, the first being his opening thoughts on the state of design in general and the standards being taught in schools and especially his comments regarding the tendency to copy design rather than innovate, the lack of freshness;
and the second being his comments regarding not being able to retain all the hacks and tricks required to force CSS to work and that he is steadfastly not a geek Smile

It is his admission to not being a CSS guru that I find refreshing in it's honesty and admire him all the more for it and just love the fact that someone of his stature has as bad a memory as myself Smile.

Larmyia you get the point as well and also have had the honour of meeting the man, I know :roll: words such as green, envy spring to mind, if only I could have found £350.00 smackers for a ticket I would have been barging you out of the way saying "no speak to me Mr Zeldman, sir"

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

We burn alongside the words we write, and I'm certainly feeling the heat.

- Antibland

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

there were a couple of speakers at @media2005 who were indicating what we're talking about here. it's the whole Jakob Nielson thing in a way isn't it? but I don't think we're doing the wrong thing. standards are important. accessibility even more so. the former can help accomplish the later in many cases.

it's all about balance. if your site doesn't validate because you've done something that is so beautiful, but is still accessible to most, is that a bad thing? it's up to every developer to make that decision. to balance the beautify of his/her design against validation. for the record, I think there are very very few circumstances where design should reduce accessibility. however, this is again a case-by-case issue.

in the past there were two distinctive type of developers - ex-graphic designer types, and programmer types. one concentrated on the look of the site, and the other on the code behind it. now however that is changing. I personally dont' come from one or the other. I have an interest in artistic things (such as calligraphy and illumination) but have also discovered a roaring interest in beautifully scripted code.

there is a new breed out there from a web developer background now and they I think will fuse standard/validation/accessibility and good design together. it will not be an either/or situation.

and fyi antibland (soon to be antistandards?) I like your work and think you do have an eye for it. as for Mr Hugo, I couldn't comment as he's an enigma and we've not seen his work.

for myself I know I can't ever remember most of the simple hacks (and you're right Hugo, it's refreshing to hear zeldman and others - ie Andy Clarke - are in the same boat), and although my sites are ok, the design is not innovative. but I do the best I can and try to allow everyone to see them. hopefully as time progresses so will my design skills.

we don't need to compromise our designs for standards, and nor do we need to compromise standards for our design. welcome to the brave new world.

larmyia

ps Hugo, there is NO WAY you could push past me to chat with Mr Zeldman. I should scan my book that he signed. Why would he look past me to you? hehehe Wink

pps hope this all makes sence. lunch is ready. am starving and no time to reread. sorry!

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

There was an article I read recently that also discussed this "standards = bland" topic and I just don't see it. I totally fail to understand how a website can be bland because it follows standards. But I'm leaving for the country right now so I gotta go.

IE7 is 10 years behind the standards or wrong.
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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

I must say, though being the standards freak that i am, if i was putting together a graphically huge website that was hard to code using standards i would certainly consider making the sacrifice. However in mainstream websites that rely mostly on the quality of content more than the design I try my very hardest to keep it in the light. This is the largest percentage of the websites i create anyway.

I am Dan, Dan I am.

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

antibland wrote:
schadenfreude

Lisa: Dad, do you know what Schadenfreude means?
Homer: No, I do not know what schadenfreude means, please tell me because I am dying to know.
Lisa: It means shameful joy.

Laughing out loud

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

I personally would never advocate design over Standards and accessibility and consider that it's important that sites first and foremost adhere to standards and accessibility as much as possible, a web page is a unique form of communication and the standards and accessibility aspects are there to ensure that a page fulfills it's purpose in that form of communication, 'design' in this context should be expressed as that which aids in the conveying of the information, it supports standards and accessibility and can be expressed as the skill that a graphic artist employs in using type correctly, good colour balance, the things that allow a page to be pleasing on the eye and understandable by the brain.

However web pages also have the ability to be more than just pure information and can shine with visual appeal and imagination, what I would hate to happen is that Standards and accessibility drown out that possibility of sites having interesting visual appeal through fresh innovative design and indeed realised in myself a reluctance to explore what may be possible lest it not quite be Standard, Semantic, or Accessible and need now to put that aside and fret less and design more within the scope afforded us.

I think your dead right Larmyia in the past things have been divided into two factions graphic artists and coders, with neither really having a full grasp of the medium they were working with. However your correct that now will come a new breed that understands a much broader range of skills and from that good stuff will spring.

larmyia wrote:
ps Hugo, there is NO WAY you could push past me to chat with Mr Zeldman. I should scan my book that he signed. Why would he look past me to you? hehehe

Ahh, I get you , tut tut :roll:

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

I think it was Doug Bowman (also a really nice and down-to-earth fellow) who was saying the same thing as Hugo in essence. that we are now being bound by our own standards. he advocated getting out the pen and paper, creating your design with no boundaries, then working up the XHTML and CSS. if there were problems then you made your decision of how you were going to address it. I admit to following this philosophy, but then I know I get into trouble sometimes because what I want to do is beyond my css/xhtml/javascript/whatever capabilities.

I honestly believe that you can adhere to standards and create accessible sites which look really really good. maybe the trouble is that the people jumping on the whole standards bandwagon are programmy types and so it seems that there isn't much good design.

I just remember when I first heard of Mr J Nielson, and so much of what he said made sense. then I went to his website and was I ever disappointed. sometimes the same happens to me on here. I go and check out sites of people whose abilities in XHTML and CSS are well above mine, and I find their sites (on the surface mind) ever so disappointing.

we must also keep in mind that the vast majority of the public don't see what goes on underneath and that is partly what makes the design so important.

Hugo wrote:

larmyia wrote:
ps Hugo, there is NO WAY you could push past me to chat with Mr Zeldman. I should scan my book that he signed. Why would he look past me to you? hehehe


Ahh, I get you , tut tut :roll:

Hugo.


fyi Hugo, I was referring to my dazzling personality over your somber one

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

If I could kidnap, shanghai (one more for you, TPH), or marry a graphic designer in need of a coder, my life would be complete and my work would shatter records. Although this is pretty unlikely to happen, I did find a job with a company who wants to hand me photoshop layouts and have me convert them into clean, strict, XHTML/CSS. If only intimacy could be shared with medium-sized corporate entities. It's so hard kissing cold stone with your eyes closed. Dating would never work, either (bringing a building inside of another building for dinner).

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

drhowarddrfine wrote:
There was an article I read recently that also discussed this "standards = bland" topic and I just don't see it. I totally fail to understand how a website can be bland because it follows standards.
Yes, being standards compliant is transparent so you are correct.

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

antibland wrote:
If only intimacy could be shared with medium-sized corporate entities. It's so hard kissing cold stone with your eyes closed. Dating would never work
- Antibland


Look at it this way Anitdating. You could turn her. Turn her away from the dark side and towards the light of standards and accessibility. convert another one to our cause. You could date your way through the company...create a legion of followers. Jones Town? Anti Town.

Need a slogan though.

anyway, enough of the silliness. back to the subject at hand.

Triumph wrote:
drhowarddrfine wrote:
There was an article I read recently that also discussed this "standards = bland" topic and I just don't see it. I totally fail to understand how a website can be bland because it follows standards.
Yes, being standards compliant is transparent so you are correct.

bad design is bad design. it can't be blamed on standards. I guess at least some of us have the strength of character to acknowledge our weaknesses and not hide behind technologies.

larmyia

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

Ah there is an error here, the focus is not on standards=bland that is not the argument nor is it true. Zeldmans piece which triggered this post is not stating that using standards is tantamount to boring design, that is a different argument and a spurious one at that.

Hugo.

Larmyias name dropping again :roll: oh ye of dazzling personality, is that what it's called now, eh?

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

Hugo wrote:
Ah there is an error here, the focus is not on standards=bland that is not the argument nor is it true. Zeldmans piece which triggered this post is not stating that using standards is tantamount to boring design, that is a different argument and a spurious one at that.

Thanks for steadying the ship, Hugo.

- Antibland

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

So what is the point Somber Hugo? correct me if I've misinterpreted, but are we talking about appreciating good design for good design, even if it's not validating and has accessibility issues.

I also feel that we're talking about not letting standards limit our design.

would I be incorrect in my assumption?

and finally that we should all take a leaf from that book and although standards/accessibility are our cornerstone, we need to look beyond them to create innovative sites?

I stand corrected if my assumptions are wrong.

larmyia

ps...don't be jealous of my dazzling personality Hugo! and if I can't name drop after going into debt to meet these people, what can I do? speaking to Joe Clark....... Laughing out loud )

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

Standards aren't boring.

Look at the CSS Zen Garden.

Look at the styles.

Now turn styles off.

Now view it in Lynx.

Get my point?

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

I don't think anyone is saying that standards are boring. just that they shouldn't confine us. the css zen garden is the perfect example. many of the designs on there are inspiring and yet follow standards to the letter.

isn't that the point we've been making??

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

larmyia wrote:
I don't think anyone is saying that standards are boring. just that they shouldn't confine us. the css zen garden is the perfect example. many of the designs on there are inspiring and yet follow standards to the letter.

isn't that the point we've been making??
That's the point.

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

Exactly this is the point we have been discussing but the argument is not about 'Standards=bland' as was quoted earlier it's about not letting standards get in the way of design I guess, or rather not falling into the trap of letting Standards straightjacket us and our thinking. As triumph said "standards compliance is transparent"

A lot of my thoughts were inferences gleamed in part from reading between the lines in the Zeldman piece as was the reference taken from his his admission that he no longer worried too much about remembering every hack and trick in CSS , he's asking us not to forgo standards but to now maybe start to focus on design once more and not be afraid of it.

We can dwell too deeply in the arcane details of standards and CSS to the point that we loose sight of just getting on with things.

So I do think that were all talking about the same thing here Larmyia it is a case of not letting standards limit our design of not worrying over every tiny semantic issue with markup, I can and do code semantic markup as a matter of course nothing makes more sense than for markup to be semantic but i've spent too much energy debating with myself the absolute definition of a semantic bit of markup, it becomes a fixation that distracts and now I have to look at things and say "well a definition list suits my purpose here not quite the intended purpose for this type of list, but tough".

At the end of the day with questions such as semantics you often finding yourself asking the why do we seem hampered by a lack of useable semantic tags and the required CSS to manipulate them and it's not only down to the browsers they can't implement what doesn't exist.

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:? Splitting hairs :?:

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

thepineapplehead wrote:
Standards aren't boring.

Look at the CSS Zen Garden.

Look at the styles.

Now turn styles off.

Now view it in Lynx.

Get my point?

It's worth noting that whilst the Zen Garden is indeed nice and standard complient, it is not an extrapolation that all it's designs are accessible.

Having a standard site that is thourghly inaccessible seems a bit pointless to me!

However as you say standards are not bland! Laughing out loud

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

I have been reading this thread with much interest. However, I have to ask - what do we mean by "design?" I use fairly conventional placement, visual cues, hints (coding in tool tips), and functionality in designing the user interface for a site. Design should not trump functionality to the point that navigation is the equivalent of solving a Myst puzzle (unless that is the point of the site). If, however, design means the use of shape and color to give a visual identity to the site, enhancing the "user experience", then I am onboard.

And speaking of users. I think standards, design, content and the use of web technologies is, at its most basic level, about communication and form follows function. Some sites are all about the interface itself ( see Eyeball Design, for an example. ) Some are all about the content with minimalist interfaces ( like CSS Discuss ).

I think standards are a significant means to an end, that being the sharing of the fullest purpose of the website with the widest audience possible. Embedded within this, though, is what I think of as a strategic imperative. By using standards in one's own designs and pushing standards and accessibility as an industry ideal, one can ensure a certain "future-proofing" of key design features and code. We have seen how XHTML/CSS allows major visual design changes with identical properly constructed semantic code. In addition, such semantic markup helps assure a migration path toward XML or any future technology that relies on well-formedness and stricter rendering. If we learn discipline, it need not be restrictive, in fact, it can be liberating in some respects.

We mustn't think of standards, design, functionality, content, etc. in either-or scenarios, but rather as threads that we must weave together in fashioning the whole cloth.

DE

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

To my mind David 'Design' in the initial and generic sense when used in context of a web page, is as you describe it and as I think I said earlier in the thread; it's primary purpose is in supporting and conveying the contents and is what I would call graphical design in the strict meaning of the practise and is that skill that typographers use in laying out type and columns that are legible and flow through the page with colors that enhance the page and lead the eye through various sections etc. It should not trump functionality this is the primary goal on which all else may be built, as you say "Form follows function"

If, when these are achieved and standards applied, we can then lend visual excitement to a page I would think of this as the second level of 'Design' artistic design which can then embellish a page as long as it does not attempt to supplant standards and functionality which it needn't do if applied with thought and this will be the challenge of the next generation of web designers.

You sum it up well that we must not think of these issues as being apart but complementary and symbiotic in nature .
Once were comfortable with the key disciplines and understand their application we should be free to pursue pure design, as you say it is in fact liberating; an analogy may be drawn by example of a true and pure free form /jazz musician for instance Miles Davis if you listen with an uneducated ear you will hear a lot of randomness and lack of form but the reverse is true to achieve the free form expression he first had to have a solid grounding in theoretical disciplines and it is that discipline that allows him true expressive freedom . The same can be said of the abstract artist, to be an abstract artist does not mean not having discipline but the reverse they still will have had training in the formal disciplines of their art and it is that which allows them to be truly creative.

You need to understand the rules before you can break them . In web context you need the discipline of standards before you can have the freedom to design on top of them whilst ensuring that the rules remain in place.

Hugo.

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

In the days prior to web design, there used to be four main types of 'design' referred to within the corporate communications industry, which went something like this (in my own words):

Information Design - the presentational structure (and navigation) of published information;
Aesthetic Design - the presentational use of form and colour etc., and the skill of enhancing pictures to look their best for a given size and print media;
Typographic Design - the science of readability and the art of conveying emotion and associational qualities through typographic form; and
Graphic Design - the art of visual communication, incorporating all of the above with emphasis on the skill of overall page 'balance' and being able to lead the viewer's eye from element-to-element throughout a page.

I still use these terms as described above, but the term 'web design' is far too loose for my liking. I have yet to see anything like the level of skill shown by the typical laterday 'web designer' that used to be practised by a good (print) graphic designer. To my mind, if you call yourself a 'web designer' you should have the full skill-set of a traditional graphic designer plus a good working knowledge of (X)HTML, CSS, usability, accessibility and the more technical aspects of file-size, delivery protocols and browser rendering. I won't even start on copywriting and search engine optimisation, else where should I stop!

It's a tall order, which is why most agencies employ teams of individuals with specific areas of specialism. But having teams of people working on one project leads to power struggles and unnecessary compromises of form and function, which often leads to the complete mess that is your typical corporate website nowadays.

To my mind, form should not follow function or vice versa - form should work in harmony with function, but how many individual web designers are able to do this with a high degree of skill? Not many, which is why we get so many form-v-function compromises. And as the web gets ever more technical in it's nature, and ever more political in it's implementation of technology, so the web will get ever more team-built, messy and chaotic IMHO.

Life's a b*tch and then you die!

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

Hugo, wow they are some comparisons! Laughing out loud

I think you are starting to ascribe too much to the html and css standards. Standards, in the technical sense, exist to allow disparate groups of people to effectively cooperate without having any idea of each others existence or the projects they are working on (e.g. the music scale).

If I build a web page in compliance with the standard and you, the user, have a web browser in compliance with the standard (and the web server and underlying network comply with their standards) then my page will render as expected on your browser. I need to know nothing of you or your browser. The browser makers need to know nothing about me or my website. The user needs to nothing about any of us - except how to operate the browser.

A good standard with fully compliant products is invisible. Who knows anything about the http standard? tcp? ip? 802.11?

The html & css standards have little to say about design and content. They say nothing about page widths, white space percentages, colour use or font-sizes. Thats how it should be.

Compliance should guarantee different components work together in a well specified manner. Compliance doesn't guarantee a site will look appealing, be understandable or convey its message. In fact, compliance says absolutely nothing about these things. That's what design is for.

By advocating compliance, we advocate that the builder has ensured there are no gotchas in the page that will show up outside the strictly controlled environment of the demonstration. Its an indication (not a guarantee) of professionalism.

Now we just need the browser manufacturers to catch up so compliance might actually mean something in the real world! :roll:

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Zeldman, on judging the reboot, and the quality of entries.

I'm not trying to ascribe too much to standards really, as mentioned earlier standards are transparent, but this thread is starting to veer from the original point, even though I started it I find myself growing confused and probably forgetful of that which I have written earlier. Smile

I agree all of your points and hope that I have not argued that compliance and standards guarantee a site will look appealing, I have tried to make the point that we can become immersed in compliance and standards to a detrimental point perhaps, and have endeavored to argue that standards should be accepted as a given and that we get on somewhat with other aspects.
To hark back to Zeldman it was the inclusion of certain sites amongst other things that piqued my interest, that and some of the other comments he was making.

Hugo.

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