I was perusing through my RSS feeds the other day and came upon two posts that caused polar opposite feelings for the future of web design in relation to web standards, CSS and what I hope to do with my life.
The first was Smashing Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful CSS-Based Web Designs in 2006. Seeing some of the beautiful, cutting edge and still standards compliant sites that people can design is uplifting. I can learn a great deal and draw lots of inspiration from more then a few on the list. I thought it might be a sign that the days of the past – nested table designs, tag soup and such – might finally be starting to move into the past.
Unfortunately I came upon a separate post that leans 180 degrees the other way – Are Web Standards Bad for Business. I had hoped this was a post written by someone new to the field or ignorant of the benefits. This was not to be. The writer is well versed on what standards compliance means and, in fact, someone who practices designing compliant sites.
Coming from a site that had a lot of “legacy” code that I spent a lot of time upgrading – as well as my as yet limited skills could – to more compliant CSS/XHTML form, a lot of the points he made hit home. Sometimes you have no control. Sometimes what the customer buys before you’re even involved handcuffs you with regard to design and no matter how hard you fight you can’t always win.
It’s hard enough setting yourself apart from the pack when (quote from same blog) “print based designers with no desire or experience in web standards design can churn out “pretty” cookie cutter web sites via using various automated software product.” To have to teach about why standards compliance are worth it as well just makes it that much more difficult.
Random Tidbit: Since this post is already talking about explaining programming/design to the non-programmer/designer I wanted to list an interesting post along the same line. Check out The Iceberg Secret, Revealed on Joel on Software.