Eric Miller on 10 Jan 2001 01:08:45 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] RE: <nettime> Disassociate Webdesign from Usability

As a designer, I see two a couple of different issues here that are getting
inadvertently lumped into one.  But the biggest issue is that users as well
as designers are bringing their preconceived notions about what the 'Net is
when they surf.  "It's a library!" "It's an entertainment medium!"  "It's a
personal communications tool!"  "It's for liberating the proletariat!"  etc.
Any reason why it can't be defined flexibly enough to accommodate the needs
of all the users?

for starters, this is still an immature medium.  We don't always know what
works.  so we experiment.  you experiment with what you post, how you post
it, how you present it, and how you structure it.  and then on top of that,
it gets filtered through different machines, and different connections, then
the big filter--the user's conceptual approach to understanding what you've

But on top of that, we tend to speak in absolutes about design.  "Flash is
bad."  "DHTML is bad."  "Plain text with H3 headers is good."  "Plain text
is boring."  well, none of these can globally apply to the hundreds of
millions...billions?...of web pages out there.  

so why the holy war?  text has a role, animation has a role, a/v has a role,
and none is inherently good or bad.  We don't seem to have the same
arguments about erudite literary journals vs. "Entertainment Weekly" vs. a
child's pop-up book.  And all are perfectly valid ways of communicating a
certain type of content to a certain audience.

pardon me if I'm retreading the obvious here.

-----Original Message-----
From: Aldon Hynes []
Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2001 8:13 AM
Subject: Re: <nettime> Disassociate Webdesign from Usability

You know, I've been reading this list for a while and
been mostly bored.  You know.  A bunch of people
throwing their words into the ether without any real
connection seeming to take place.  Sort of like, what
if they held an online art museum and nobody

Oh there have been a few exceptions.  The discussions
about GWB have been interesting as well as the
nanomedicine stuff and the thing about drugs....

But here was a message that caught my attention.  A
little while ago, everyone was complaining about the
flash page for sfmoma's 010101...  Meanwhile everyone
is complaining about dull interfaces.

Maybe I'm unsophisticated, but I kinda like text. 
That is one of the reasons most of the stuff I do
online is text.  It is easy.  Anyone can do text,
anyone can understand text, and it provides a great
opportunity to improvizationally interact.  Kinda like
doing black and white prints while everyone else is
doing color film...

What was the book you were reading?

--- wrote:
> > So, at the moment, we are confronted with the sad
> choice between innovative
> > sites with a dull interface and nice-looking sites
> with a conservative
> > information structure...
> Yeah. I read this book the other day. It was a great
> book, but the
> layout was so *damn* dull. Just a bunch of words on
> a page. Such a
> shame. Totally ruined the whole thing. Hello?

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