It’s Not Just the Design, Stupid

One of the things that drives me nuts about the Web right now is the complete lack of understanding among designers, programmers and users in general as to what the Web could be.

Hint: You cannot control how your site appears, or is used by others. Don’t even try. Be flexible, and learn how you can make your sites work for everybody. Not everybody…

  • Can see colours the way you do (think colour blindness)
  • Has the same screen size you do (think PDAs and widescreen monitors)
  • Can read 10px fonts (think about poor eyesight)
  • Has a broadband connection (think rural)
  • Has the same taste in design (think about getting consensus about a design from your clients)

The standard tips apply here. Using standards based design is a good start, as well as following some basic design guidelines. Sexiness alone might win you the contract, but you won’t be doing your customer any favours, whether they know it or not. Give this question a thought: What are the 5 sites that you visit most often? Now, why do you visit these sites? I’m willing to bet that you visit all 5 of them for the content, rather than the way they look.

So what’s the lesson? The lesson is that Content is King, and in almost any situation I can think of, a website should be constructed in such a way that its content can be delivered to as many visitors as possible. If you can do this well, and still make your site look sexy, you’ve already got the competition whipped. (This advice presumes your site actually has content people will be interested in).

There are fortunes being made on the web right now by people who understand this.