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    frankchimero.comFrank Chimero17 min
    4 reads4 comments
    7.7
    frankchimero.com
    4 reads
    7.7
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    • thorgalle
      Scribe
      1 week ago

      Really interesting article! Thanks deep. It illustrates well the frustration in designers (and developers, a role which he also seems to assume?) that can follow from a web that is changing as quickly as it does. But also a mindset of adapting to this change.

      I believe the author misses one critical point in his reflection on 15 years of change, and reminiscence of simple, readable HTML and CSS: the environment and role of websites (read: web apps) has become much more complex as well.

      15 years ago a browser was not necessarily the main program on a computer. YouTube and Facebook were still babies.

      Today so much of our time is spent in a browser, or an app that is a browser in disguise (e.g. Slack), or a mobile app that accesses the same data as the browser apps. The cloud model is real and took over computing at large. Responsive is a requirement, with all ensuing complexities.

      The simple informational website is still relevant, but less relevant in a world with social networks. And today, the web powers so much more than informational websites, and is used in many more ways. This requires more complexity in the ecosystem.

      But when it comes to the informational websites, he shares some good learnings.


      Directness is best in my experience, so a great photo, memorable illustration, or pitch-perfect sentence does most of the work. Beyond that, fancy implementation has never moved the needle much for my clients.

      If you can write markup, you don’t need Medium or Twitter or Instagram (though they’re nice to have). And the best way to help someone write markup is to make sure they can read markup.

      Huh?

      Many of my design peers are the same. We possess skills to make websites, but we stopped there. We stuck with markup and never progressed into full-on programming, because we were only willing to go as far as things were legible.

      Which might be fine for simple websites, but surprise surprise, if you want to get the effects of "full-on programming", such as interactivity, data processing and data storage, you need to adopt a developer/engineer role & mindset. People have tried to embed these capabilities into XML/HTML markup languages, but I think there are good reasons why this didn't become mainstream.

      Let’s be more like that tortoise: diligent, direct, and purposeful. The web needs pockets of slowness and thoughtfulness as its reach and power continues to increase. What we depend upon must be properly built and intelligently formed. We need to create space for complexity’s important sibling: nuance. Spaces without nuance tend to gravitate towards stupidity. And as an American, I can tell you, there are no limits to the amount of damage that can be inflicted by that dangerous cocktail of fast-moving-stupid.

      Further reading: Slow is good but steady is everything - Bill Loundy, CEO of Readup

      • jeff
        Top reader of all timeReading streakScout
        1 week ago

        Great comment! I enjoyed the article as well but also found that some of the arguments (more like laments, really) kind of missed the mark.

        I believe the author misses one critical point in his reflection on 15 years of change, and reminiscence of simple, readable HTML and CSS: the environment and role of websites (read: web apps) has become much more complex as well.

        Very true, and there are some legitimate annoyances about how the web morphed into a full-fledged application development platform, but the author is in a unique position as a "boutique design studio." When you're a one-man band, you have broad discretion over the work you source and how it's done. Clients that contract with such small shops will not care, or have any concept of, the technologies that you use to build their website.

        Responsive is a requirement, with all ensuing complexities.

        I feel like this is his real gripe. If he wanted to he could still build websites with tables. Backwards compatibility on the web is amazingly good. The real issue is not being forced somehow to use new technology, it's not being able to meet evolving client expectations with the old technology.

        • thorgalle
          Scribe
          1 week ago

          Very true, and there are some legitimate annoyances about how the web morphed into a full-fledged application development platform

          "Dear web, if you would start again, what would you have done differently?" -> I've got a hunch that this will be a lengthy answer indeed! Curious to read such an article form the web's inventors, I'm sure it exists!

          The real issue is not being forced somehow to use new technology, it's not being able to meet evolving client expectations with the old technology.

          🥇✅

    • deephdave
      Top reader this weekReading streakScout
      2 weeks ago

      That breaks my heart, because so much of my start on the web came from being able to see and easily make sense of any site I’d visit. I had view source, but each year that goes by, it becomes less and less helpful as a way to investigate other people’s work. Markup balloons in size and becomes illegible because computers are generating it without an eye for context. Styles become overly verbose and redundant to the point of confusion. Functionality gets obfuscated behind compressed Javascript.