There are a few serious issues with the
rem unit. The main reason why I dislike the
rem unit is because pixels don’t belong on the web. Yes, that sounds weird, but let me explain. If you define font-sizes with pixels people who use certain browsers can’t increase their font-size. This conflicts with the idea that the user should be able to override styles with their own preferences. I think that idea is one of the things that makes the web such a wonderful place. That’s why I dislike pixels. But what does that have to do with the
There are a few serious issues with the
This column was published in the Dutch, paper version of Web Designer Magazine. It’s in Dutch. Wie mijn columns het afgelopen jaar een beetje heeft gevolgd, weet dat ik de onbetrouwbare eigenschappen van het web nogal weet te waarderen. Ik heb het regelmatig gehad over het feit dat je geen controle hebt over hoe jouw creatie er uiteindelijk uit komt te zien; je weet niet hoe groot het scherm is van de gebruiker, hoe snel de internetverbinding, hoe snel het apparaat zelf is, hoe goed het beeldscherm, of hoe goed de browser. Al deze vreemde onzekerheden en beperkingen zorgen ervoor dat het web weird is. Het is bizar, maar juist ook erg tof om daarvoor te ontwerpen.Kan het misschien bizarder?
This week there was a very interesting, very off-topic discussion on my blog. I wrote a a little post about the classic articles for web professionals, and in it I wrote some poorly worded sentences that caused a few reactions. There was one comment by Gertjan, a visual designer, that struck me most, because I think it emphasises exactly the core of what I consider to be the problem with web design. He wrote:What?
This morning I had a little discussion with Mallory and Flurin Egger about working with people who are not as good as you are, and in particular, about working with designers and clients who care about unimportant stuff. Mallory gave some examples like
the designer takes a screenshot of the web page, measures text with straight ‘shop lines, requests fixes and
I think the designers I’ve worked for felt they were doing the top of their jobs when measuring px/color perfection. She gave some examples of terrible advice given by the best SEO guy in The Netherlands too. I always thought things were getting better, but it appears that’s not the case everywhere yet.
I’m not a specialist on payment flows, but I am lazy and I often buy stuff on the web. So I think I’m qualified to have an opinion about how a good check-out flow should work. I think the key to a good flow is filling out as few forms fields as possible. And once you’ve achieved that, remove even more form fields. My friend Peet Sneekes told me that Sugru has a
very enjoyable, smart, usable and all together lovely (mobile) ordering flow. I needed a fresh load of Sugru, so I tested the Sugru checkout flow with my iPod Touch.
Today I tweeted a link to a small presentation about the fact that on many devices you can’t see icon-fonts because
@font-face isn’t supported. I also tweeted
The fact that many people can’t see your icon-fonts, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them. Just make sure they still get the message and
It doesn’t have to be perfect. There’s no such thing as perfect on the web. Perfect only exists in theory. But then I thought about the meaning of perfect a little more, and I came to the conclusion that perfect does exist on the web. It just means something else than we’re used to.
This column was published in the Dutch, paper version of Web Designer Magazine. It’s in Dutch. Het web is er voor iedereen. Dit is een van de basisprincipes van het web, het moet voor iedereen werken, ongeacht de hardware die de gebruiker heeft. In de tijd dat het web werd uitgevonden, ruim twintig jaar geleden, betekende dit dat het moest werken op computers met groen-zwarte CRT schermen, én op hypermoderne schermen van 640 bij 320 pixels die wel 256 kleuren konden weergeven. De nieuwste computers toentertijd hadden 2Mb RAM geheugen (Mb, ja), maar er waren natuurlijk nog erg veel tragere computers in gebruik. En het web moest het doen op al deze computers. Dit was de digitale wereld van 1993, het jaar dat het wereldwijde web werd uitgevonden.Ooh, geschiedenis!
One of the things that strike me when I talk to young professionals who just finished university is that often they lack some pretty basic knowledge. For instance, many young designers know nothing about typography, about grids, about colour theory. Or they know nothing about the fluid nature of the web. I don’t say that these people all have to be experts on all these things, but I do believe that they really have to have a good understanding of some basics and know where to find the details about it.Really?
Last week I signed a contract at the University for Applied Science here in Amsterdam. From February on, I will be a lecturer there. I will teach students about developing for the web, and about designing for the web. As a principal front-end developer at Mirabeau, the largest web agency in The Netherlands, I’ve always complained about the technical and practical level of web design in The Netherlands. And I’ve tried, from different angles, to improve web education in The Netherlands. Now I’ll resign as a principal, and start teaching. I’ll try my best to teach my future students the stuff that principals and art directors and clients find important. I’m looking forward to our fundamental discussions about quality in the near future. Now it’s your turn to tell me I don’t understand it, hahaha.That’s funny
Creating stuff for the web, if done right, is easy. A while ago, I saw this wonderful illustration by Mike Kus and decided to paint it onto a wall in our house. Painting an illustration like this onto your wall is a lot of work. First you have to design stencils in a vector editor, then you have to send these files to a laser cutter, then you have to drive to the laser cutter, get the stencils, buy paint, and finally paint the illustration onto the wall. I did that. And when I looked at it once it was finished I didn’t really like what I was seeing: the circles were not placed on a logical grid. The illustration was too big. Every circle should have been three centimetres smaller. Correcting this is really a lot of work. Redesign the stencil, send it to the laser cutter again, get the stencils, and paint every single circle back onto the wall. Again. After a month I finally had a beautiful illustration on my wall.This was about the web, right?
Last week was weird. I gave a talk about the weird, weird web in Oslo, and a day later in Nürnberg, two cities I had never been to before. It was a wonderful week, in which I lost my passport, traveled on a laissez-passer, met lots of great people, and saw some very interesting talks.What’s a laissez-passer?