Friday, October 01, 2010

Web Design in the Autumn of 2010

I’m excited about the latest crop of web browser—the diverse mobile ones in particular—and HTML5 and CSS3, and the other new techs that go with them.

I’ve been avoiding the work of a designer for a while now…

When I first discovered HTML—which must have been about 2003/2004—the standards movement was young and fresh. To give you an idea, the CSS Zen Garden was the hot pin-up of the moment. Before I heard the message I’d gone through a book on using Dreamweaver MX which was all tables and spacer-gifs. You can imagine, CSS was, for the beginner, clear and simple; both powerful and obvious. Progress was fast.

But of course, after that first flush, CSS didn’t quite live up to its promise. The path beyond those early successes soon led into a landscape of image heavy—and Flash heavy—delicate—and brittle—designs. (That was just the reality of professional web design.)

The need to engage with these techniques has always put me off. There have always been more rewarding, to my mind purer, pursuits in the realm of the developer. (This is of course a long-winded excuse for never pushing my skills here beyond the basic.) But I think this may be the case no longer.

As I see it, beyond the subjective feeling that I’ve finally got some sort of grasp on all the other stuff, the reasons for this change in circumstance are two:

  1. The technology has moved on such that the (aforementioned) new bunch eliminate the need for most of the distasteful extras.

  2. The rapid rise of the mobile web has (finally, thank God) made it socially acceptable to adopt—in practice—the policy of reserving nothing more for users of outdated versions of Internet Explorer than The Finger.

I’ve been far too busy for it to be true to say that, this is what I’ve been waiting for. These are interesting times indeed.

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