Jump to content

Cre8asiteforums Internet Marketing
and Conversion Web Design


Photo

Give me an "M" Web site design


  • Please log in to reply
37 replies to this topic

#1 cre8pc

cre8pc

    Dream Catcher Forums Founder

  • Admin - Top Level
  • 13598 posts

Posted 30 August 2004 - 08:29 AM

Jakob Nielsen wrote about different types of web designs in

Mastery, Mystery, and Misery: The Ideologies of Web Design

Behind a website's superficial appearance lies its fundamental understanding of user behavior in an interactive service. Choices such as whether the "buy" button is red or orange or whether the navigation menu runs across the top or down the left side are much debated, but make at most a few percent difference in usability. In contrast, the design ideology can make or break a site. 

I see three contrasting approaches to design, which I have dubbed mastery, mystery, and misery.


He concludes:

The mastery ideology provides the best match with the Web's fundamental nature: it lets users go where they want. Web users want instant gratification and have little patience for the mystery approach's detours and puzzles. Users are getting ever-more goal-driven in their approach to the Web, which they see more as a tool than an environment. Surfing to check out cool sites is a thing of the past.


He makes good points in this piece, and other things I'm grumbling at and still sorting out my thoughts. The last line, about the end of looking for cool sites, just adds to my feelings of late that the thrill of the Internet I felt in the 1990's is gone.

How do you all feel about the present state of web design. Is it all so mediocre, overly measured, mechanical and managed?

Is the magic gone?

#2 gravelsack

gravelsack

    Mach 1 Member

  • Members
  • 401 posts

Posted 30 August 2004 - 08:47 AM

For me its just an information search and retrieve tool.

Give me the information I require quickly with as little fuss as possible and I am a happy bunny.

Its the speed with which I can research almost anything that provides the magic for me.

(thats just me and my head though, YMMV)

#3 Ruud

Ruud

    Hall of Fame

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 4887 posts

Posted 30 August 2004 - 08:48 AM

On this very forum in Critiq this web site eron19 posted a link to http://www.eccentris.com/splash.htm: a beautiful work of art made in Flash. With the number of visitors they report interest in Design sites clearly isn't over yet.

Is the magic gone? No, no way! Years of browsing the web, looking at sites, clicking View Source and I still find gems. In the forum thread What to do BEFORE you code Scratch posted a link to a great idea for combining breadcrumbs & dropdown.

Mediocre, overly measured, mechanical and managed? Ha! Depends where you look. I love to do a random search with the word blog in it, jump into the blog circle and just surf around. The CSS wealth of beauty and ideas is motivating.

And Nielsen is right here; staring at a design for hours makes it boring sometimes. We're very used to web designs. Most visitors do not spend their life online or on web design and every boring, common feature we yawn about is a gadget to them of which they have no idea how it is done behind the scenes.

Ruud

#4 cre8pc

cre8pc

    Dream Catcher Forums Founder

  • Admin - Top Level
  • 13598 posts

Posted 30 August 2004 - 10:00 AM

Well, I just had to write about this...and after seeing the great responses here, I'll pop a link from the blog entry back here. Thanks for the dialog. This is interesting!

I'm dreaming of the magic... :(

Are Usable Web Sites Missing The Magic?

I would add “Memorable” to Jakob Nielsen’s Mastery, Mystery and Misery list.

Memorable means the web site visitor will want to come back.



#5 mugshot

mugshot

    Gravity Master Member

  • Members
  • 219 posts

Posted 30 August 2004 - 10:25 AM

The magic that we are talking about is there...it may be subdued because of the massive overflow of designers out there, but it is still there if you look between the cracks and crevices.

Being usable and looking good can certainly go hand-in-hand. It does take a lot...and i mean A LOT of planning and constant tweaking, but we can all get there if we try :(

And gravel made a good point when he said he is there for information and not looks. That is indeed true for a lot of people and yet not for others.

I for one look for information also, but if a site is designed half-baked, I would turn away, UNLESS the site is reputable. So, if you don't want to care about design and still want people to read your content, you better make sure your name SELLS!

#6 gravelsack

gravelsack

    Mach 1 Member

  • Members
  • 401 posts

Posted 30 August 2004 - 02:13 PM

And gravel made a good point when he said he is there for information and not looks.


Having said that, got to say, Jakob's site still looks awful to me. :)

#7 mugshot

mugshot

    Gravity Master Member

  • Members
  • 219 posts

Posted 30 August 2004 - 02:15 PM

Hence my closing comments hehe :)

#8 send2paul

send2paul

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 2908 posts

Posted 30 August 2004 - 05:08 PM

Is the magic gone? Hmmm, good question. Well, inbetween the "real world", vacations, family members PC problems etc etc, I'm still getting to grips with the theory and practice of web design.

So, from a freshman's point of view, it looks a bit like this:

I see "good" design & "bad" design. In the main I find I spend a lot of time looking at, and searching for, how to design, without actually seeing a lot of different designs. Is this why, perhaps, the bottom end of the web design market appears to be filled with a lot of mediocre designs, because, like myself, a new designer has followed a similar path as my own, and ended up, perhaps, designing their own web sites based on things they have learnt & can do, as opposed to experimenting with new & more challenging designs because their knowledge is limited in the technical apsects of design, and therefore, they may not know any better to be looking for, or experimenting with, anything other than with what they know? (Wow - what a long sentence! :P )

Equally, the SEO, usability, and e-commerce aspects of a web site must surely play a part in web design? Do all web designers hold such skills that the whole web design/structure package can be produced/maintained so that the site looks good, but is also performs the functions it was designed for?

Does web design just mean looking pretty & clever? Are we not limited to some degree by the software/programming languages enabling people to get these design ideas on the WWW? Or alternatively, as new technologies/software becomes more cheaper & affordable for the masses, will not web design now become a more easier activity to partake in?

In conclusion I can safely say: "I don't know"......but "The truth is out there...."...so I'll keep on looking :)

#9 paranoidandroid

paranoidandroid

    Light Speed Member

  • Members
  • 821 posts

Posted 30 August 2004 - 05:47 PM

This subject is something I have been condsidering also.

Too much of the web seems bland boxy and safe. While this maybe fits the criteria of many corporate sites, I am always on the lookout for more innovative experimental designs.

When I say experimental and innovative, it doesn't mean sites with confusing navigation where the visitor has to guess what to do.

Or sites which are full of flash animations and annoying music.

Ultimately I think there must be a balance between creativity and usability.
Just can't find many good examples of this.

#10 send2paul

send2paul

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 2908 posts

Posted 31 August 2004 - 12:01 AM

p.p.s. Content is everything - forgot to mention that. You may have a crappily designed site, but with excellent content - does one outweigh the other at some point?

#11 peter_d

peter_d

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 1914 posts

Posted 31 August 2004 - 12:48 AM

There's more magic in the internet now than ever - semantic web, p2p networks, streaming that actually works, VoIP that actually works, search that actually works, online communities, personal publishing. And we've only just got started.

The magic had nothing to do with spinning 3d text on fire. The web was, and still is, over designed. No one accusses the book of being dull and uninteresting because its shape hasn't changed in three thousand years. :)

The magic is in the message. The medium is not the message.

#12 send2paul

send2paul

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 2908 posts

Posted 31 August 2004 - 12:59 AM

I like that Peter:

No one accusses the book of being dull and uninteresting because its shape hasn't changed in three thousand years

Yeah - that says a lot doesn't it? :)

#13 paranoidandroid

paranoidandroid

    Light Speed Member

  • Members
  • 821 posts

Posted 31 August 2004 - 05:40 AM

The magic is in the message. The medium is not the message.


agreed, sites like Cre8asite are proof of this.

The internet certainly isn't dull and uninteresting.

The book may not have changed shape in 3000 years, it has evolved into different media- newspapers, magazines, tv, computers e-books. All of which enrich our lives, as does the internet.(more than all)

I would hate to see the majority of sites looking like Jakob Nielsen's (I know he is a legend in usability/standards)

#14 loki

loki

    Gravity Master Member

  • Members
  • 156 posts

Posted 01 September 2004 - 01:08 PM

call me boring, but i'm happy with some standardisation (from a surfers POV). it means i can arrive at a new site and get the info i want fast, without having to guess my way through some ditzy designer's idea of info.architecture.

#15 sanity

sanity

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 6889 posts

Posted 01 September 2004 - 05:44 PM

No one accusses the book of being dull and uninteresting because its shape hasn't changed in three thousand years.

Exactly. The magic hasn't gone it's just that the web has grown up and standards have been adopted, All books look pretty similar in form and function but a great jacket design will always ensure one stands out over another.

Users are used to certain things being in certain spots on a site - so we as designers have to accept this and use our creative energy to come up with a solution that takes these standards on board whilst creating a memorable experience.

#16 peter_d

peter_d

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 1914 posts

Posted 01 September 2004 - 06:57 PM

Agreed.

Jakob nailed it. It is the best piece I've read by him. He's not saying that people cannot think laterally and enjoy mystery, he's saying that there is a time and place for it. Nine times out of ten, information architecture and web site design should aim for clarity.

My favourite art gallery is the Tate Modern, and while I want the art to be challenging and thought provoking, I don't want the location of the front door to be!

#17 Ruud

Ruud

    Hall of Fame

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 4887 posts

Posted 01 September 2004 - 08:41 PM

A good design is like a view of a beautiful mist laden morning lake - you forget that a designer was there.

http://www.adampolselli.com/
http://www.undercaffeinated.com/
http://www.truthlaidbear.com/
http://eleganthack.com/
http://www.designdojo.ca/
http://www.hicksdesign.co.uk/
http://www.hivelogic.com/
http://chicagouncommon.com/
http://modulo26.net/daily/

Beauty - it's in the eye of the (source) view.

Ruud

#18 AlGordon

AlGordon

    Mach 1 Member

  • Members
  • 313 posts

Posted 02 September 2004 - 02:53 AM

Exactly. The magic hasn't gone it's just that the web has grown up and standards have been adopted, All books look pretty similar in form and function but a great jacket design will always ensure one stands out over another.


But the book will only find true value if the pages inside are full of content that is meaningful to its purpose. If I want to find a phone number which do I choose?

a. The shopping catalogue with the beautiful woman on the front.
b. The 'Yellow Pages'.

Content is what makes the internet interesting and useful, to me at least. If its packaged up in an attractive, quick loading, intuitive way then that is just an added bonus.

#19 DianeV

DianeV

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 7216 posts

Posted 02 September 2004 - 03:05 AM

True. On the other hand, and I'm not arguing against intuitive navigation here, it's creative design that can make something more compelling.

A room is just a space. A great interior designer can transform it into an evocative space that you want to occupy.

#20 cre8pc

cre8pc

    Dream Catcher Forums Founder

  • Admin - Top Level
  • 13598 posts

Posted 02 September 2004 - 06:40 AM

A great interior designer can transform it into an evocative space that you want to occupy.


And a great web design will inspire return visits and provide a memorable experience. Very few sites, of the hundreds of thousands out there, can make this claim.

Usability is, and will be, so much more than web standards. These are the foundation. Standards, when not taken into consideration with usage studies, aren't cost effective. Standards are not persuasive architecture. Standards are not engability. Standards are still being studied by Human Factors practioners to understand the human/computer reaction and patterns of use.

Nielsen said people don't look for cool sites anymore. Are web users this bored already?

#21 Ruud

Ruud

    Hall of Fame

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 4887 posts

Posted 02 September 2004 - 06:50 AM

Nielsen said people don't look for cool sites anymore. Are web users this bored already?


Maybe this is a personal impression based on the circle of friends and family around him? I have a lot of people who love to send and multi-forward me URL's to cool sites. And believe me, often that has nothing to do with standards, design, layout. Often more with the funny conent like is the case with http://stupidvideos.com/

Ruud.

#22 bwelford

bwelford

    Peacekeeper Administrator

  • Site Administrators
  • 9018 posts

Posted 02 September 2004 - 07:14 AM

Everyone is different so I don't think you can do studies on people's likes and dislikes re websites unless you know who was the target audience. What counts is how well the website works in achieving its goals with that target audience.

If there wasn't a target audience and there weren't any goals, then I guess it may always work for someone. :P

#23 cre8pc

cre8pc

    Dream Catcher Forums Founder

  • Admin - Top Level
  • 13598 posts

Posted 02 September 2004 - 08:24 AM

Maybe this is a personal impression based on the circle of friends and family around him?


I was thinking the same thing, and it's why I reacted so strongly to the statement. While the folks in IA, UCD, HF and related fields that get dumped into the usability pile often regard Nielsen with barely a passing glance, he's still regarded in general as an expert. And some people treat his Alertbox pieces as gospel.

It's not doing anyone any favors to set forth rigid rules for design. There are guidelines, and they have to be considered along with the requirements gathering process and business goals.

Case in point are ecommerce sites that think they're following all the rules for online shopping, and yet someone from China or Taiwan or Canada is unable to make a purchase because the shopping cart wasn't designed for International usage. Some USA designers act as if the USA is the planet and nothing else is out there :shock:

I haven't rounded up all the studies yet, but cultural differences are largely ignored. Certain hand signals used in icons are considered bad manners in some countries or offensive in others. Accessibility is still just catching on in importance. We're not, as a design group entity, embracing all the human factors or even skilled enough to convince companies that these things are of value.

Nevertheless, I see lots of signs of progress. I see more and more attention to tiny details that make it easier for a site to be negotiated. Even if I, personally, desire some lively creative genius once in awhile, it still remains true that a memorable web site is one that someone found easy to use, or provided excellent customer service or a smooth shopping experience.

Since so many web visitors expect this, at the very least, it's certainly enough to focus on for awhile or aim for as a goal.

Entertaining me is not a priority :twisted:

#24 webword

webword

    Runs with Honor Member

  • Members
  • 54 posts

Posted 02 September 2004 - 01:07 PM

1. The web is not the internet. Too many people get sucked into the idea that what we see on the web is everything. Do not forget that the backbone, the internet, is the true innovation. In this respect peter_d is right; we are only getting started.

2. In light of my first comment, if you forget that the web is not the internet, you are dead. By "dead" I mean that you will always behind the curve. Others who look into the depths of the internet will surpass you in a very short time. I'm not trying to scare you, instead I am trying to keep you alert. Innovations in integrating email, IM, P2P, VoIP, and the web, are just the start. More is coming too, all the time.

3. True creative innovation -- true magic -- is in the depths of the internet, not the interface. The interface is always the *last* thing to get visibility. This is a shame, but it is largely true. The interface of the web, at least regarding HTML, is somewhat stale. But, the development tools and technologies (e.g., CSS, Flash, scripting) are dynamic. You want magic? Head to the bowels of the internet and dig around. You'll be impressed with the magic shrooms growing in the dark.

4. There is an issue with this thread that I need to point out. Most of the people here are "web people" in that they care about the web. We are designers, developers, usability specialists, SEO specialists, and so forth. When we talk about the web we are mostly talking about the web as an infrastructure or environment that we care about. That is, we see design and development magic in the web, if we look for it. What *we* think is not as relevant as what *users* think. We hardly know what "normal" folks think. We're just getting there. Also, there are individual differences that we cannot ignore. Some "regular" users will see magic whereas others will not.

5. Now that I said all of this, I want to say that I think Jakob's article is a puff piece. He offers very little data. He's throwing around ideas without any real support. I appreciate the piece as a matter of generating conversation, but his observations are not driven much by any research I know about. So, much of what he says in this piece I just want to ignore...

#25 cre8pc

cre8pc

    Dream Catcher Forums Founder

  • Admin - Top Level
  • 13598 posts

Posted 02 September 2004 - 01:35 PM

Whoo Hoo! You go John :)

You want magic? Head to the bowels of the internet and dig around. You'll be impressed with the magic shrooms growing in the dark.


The images that come to my mind aren't suitable for television. (cough).

But seriously, are you referring to the technology itself? It would be fascinating to tap into what's happening to this medium from a invention/R &D perspective, if that's what you were referring to.

#26 peter_d

peter_d

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 1914 posts

Posted 02 September 2004 - 05:35 PM

Jakob Nielsen is in the business of promoting Jakob Nielsen - he's one hellava marketer. Clearly, by adopting a polemic standpoint, he ignites debate. The polemic standpoint, by it's very nature, often has holes you could drive a bus through, but I don't think that therefore negates the truth of what he is saying. He may well have the data to support the position, although it's true he doesn't present it in this article.

From my experience, from the test data I have collected over the years, from making the lions share of my income from my own websites (as opposed to consulting), and from my philosophy about the web, I agree with Jakobs article 100%. If anyone has data that disproves this position, then I'd like to see it.

Web design is the end of the process. Great web designs don't inspire return visits any more than a resturant with a nice paint job and rubbish food inspires return visits. Put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig.

A web site must reflect the wants and desires of the user. Those that don't will fail, no matter how good or bad they look. Users do not care about you, they care about themselves, and the power rests with them because an alternative is only ever one mouse-click away.

#27 Respree

Respree

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 5901 posts

Posted 02 September 2004 - 05:49 PM

Agreed. Case in point, boo.com
http://www.bohmann.d...ws/boo_com.html

#28 BillSlawski

BillSlawski

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 15644 posts

Posted 03 September 2004 - 12:36 AM

The column starts with a summary, and I almost agree with it, but I don't think I'm reading it the same way that Dr. Nielsen is.

I bolded the part I emphasize when I read it out loud.

Simple, unobtrusive designs that support users* are successful because they abide by the Web's nature -- and they make people feel good.


*Emphasis mine

Here's how I envision Jakob Nielsen reading it:

Simple, unobtrusive designs that support users are successful because they abide by the Web's nature -- and they make people feel good.



But...

when I take a step back, and look at what he is really saying, I start questioning the whole thing.

...they abide by the Web's nature...


These sites are successful because they abide by the web's nature?

Exactly what is success, and what is the nature of the web? I think that needs some clarification. But even that isn't really the problem I have with the article.

The best thing about the article is the alliteration that drives the title: Mastery, Mystery, Misery. Great stuff there. But, it's wrong. Those aren't "approaches to design". The first may be an indication of an intelligent use of the web. The second two are just failures to communicate, and to understand the medium.

Where does the article fail?
[list] Simplicity matters when it aids in understanding, and communication. When a site is simple, but incomprehensible, it can be more harmful than a site which is complex but easy to use. (How simple is Amazon.com? How successful is it?)

2. While it's easy to make generalizations about visitors to a site, the truth is that a complexity of design which recognizes differences in visitors and their preferences can provide a better experience for more people. If we all shared the same interests, and the same way of looking at the world, most sites would look exactly the same. Many graphical user interfaces include more than one way of completing the same task.

If one of my primary business objectives is to get a visitor to contact me, I'm going to include a number of different ways to do that, including email, phone number, fax number, mail address. I don't care which one they choose. I'd count any of them as a success.

If my goal is to sell a book, I am going to make it easy for a person to find a specific book, or find categories of books, or to find books that are similar to one they've read, or to find books by the same author, or to read comments made by other readers of the book, or to include the book on a wish list that others can visit and buy for them.

When I describe a service, I'm not going to just list the features of the service, I'm going to explain the benefits of the service. I may describe those benefits as they apply to different people in different situations. I may use a variety of case studies that different people can emphasize with.

Those are design ideologies. Those are approaches to design that have little to do with mystery or misery.

3. The truth is that we have many more ways of communicating that just the book. Novels, movies, music, art, television, and mathematics are all different ways we've developed of communicating ideas and sharing experiences. We're just beginning to develop different ways of communicating on the web, and one of the strengths of the web is the ability for people to interact with a web site, or to interact with others on the web. To try to pigeonhole designers to standards set in 1997 ignores some great new ways of communicating on the web, such as RSS and blogs. [list]
I'm going to suggest another word that begins with the letter "m" that I'm reminded of when I read this article, and that's Myopic.


This article is a rehash of an older one from Dr. Nielsen. I think he's recycling his ideas. This quote reminds me of another article of his:

On balance, the mystery approach to design succeeds for Rowling -- just don't try it for sites that are not about teenage wizards.


See this article: In the Future, We'll All Be Harry Potter where he says:

Every page that doesn't conform to expected behavior and design conventions undermines users' ability to build a conceptual model of the Web, and thus reduces their ability to use other sites with ease, confidence, and pleasure.


What simpletons he makes us out to be.

Here's a thread we had on that earlier column (yes, we can recycle our ideas, too):

site visitors as muggles

A very quick summary:

[list] Make intelligent design choices that fulfill your business objectives.

[*]Consider the needs of different visitors and recognize that they are not all alike.

[*]Create clear pathways to follow through your site, and

[*]test to make sure that people do understand how to use those pathways.[list] Creating a clear navigation system and making a design that is easy to understand and follow doesn't necessarily mean that your site has to look like everyone elses. It's often very easy to be ignored when your site is exactly like everyone elses. But, if your site can engage and entice, and fulfill your business objectives (don't ignore that last part), then you have a good chance of success on the web.

#29 peter_d

peter_d

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 1914 posts

Posted 03 September 2004 - 07:04 PM

Cars look different, but if you can drive one car, you can drive them all thanks to standardisation, user centric design and simplicity. Would you buy a car that was mysterious to drive? It would be interesting for about two minutes - until you hit a wall.

the designer's job is to provide the features users need in a transparent interface that gets out of the way and lets users focus on the task at hand.


Isn't the article mostly about the power relationship of interactive design?

A movie is a non-interactive environment - the director controls what you look at and when. I suspect most flash designers are frustrated movie directors. In interactive environments, the user controls the interaction, so the user must be immediately familar with the controls in order to participate in the environment. Complex interfaces are for those people who have become very familiar with the environment (i.e aircraft cockpit) and/or those required to undertake a wide range of activities.

I might give you my time

Most web pages, like cars, are very limited in terms of application. Web pages, like books, are simply containers of information. Operation of a web site should be clear, simple and obvious because people can skip web pages as fast as you can say mouse click. Don't make me think - not because I can't, but because I won't give you the valuable time I could very easily be spending elsewhere. If I, the user, spend my time elsewhere your site isn't a success, no matter how you define the word. The web is about communication, and successful communication requires, at very least, two people.

Adopting user centered design means empowering the user via a process of clarification and, to a certain degree, standardisation. In terms of operation, reduce complexity and meet expectations unless you have a very good reason not to do so. I, the user, am not going to invest my time thinking about your user interface unless I really want what you've got and can't get it anywhere else.

#30 Ruud

Ruud

    Hall of Fame

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 4887 posts

Posted 03 September 2004 - 09:37 PM

I bet you in our minds we have images and impressions of totally different web sites when we think about "standard", "simple", "high design" or "mysterious". Which is probably why we kinda all mean the same - and kinda all say it different.

An argument that comes back in this thread can be summed up in the word confusion. The other side of that argument can be summed up as intuitive. Because of the sites we vaguely have in mind these two become synonyms with "magical design" and "standardised design". During our walks together in the area to show eachother what we see from our point of view these concepts become intertwined with the arguments I mentioned - and as a result the two types of sites we talk about become polarised in usability.

So, walk on over to my vantage view again, shall we?

The art of the designer of the web interface, which is part of the web site, lies in that he makes it seem natural, logic - intuitive. The level of complexity of the site thanks to his art and skill has no influence on the interface. In other words; the interface doesn't need to be more or less confusing in relation to the complexity of design of the site itself.

With that in mind, should we release magic onto the web with abound? No. There is that other component: purpose. Message is to medium as purpose to design. An online bookshop is very different in nature from a fansite about the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

So what can go wrong? A simple or deliberately designed site both can have a confusing interface: an error on the side of the interface designer. A simple or deliberately designed site both can be the wrong thing at the wrong time.

To say that one follows the other or causes the other - no.

There's simply is a time for everything.

Ruud

ps: simple, standard layout one-page webportal - and it confuses the hell out of me by opening every link in a new window....

#31 DCrx

DCrx

    Hall of Fame

  • 1000 Post Club
  • 1292 posts

Posted 04 September 2004 - 08:51 AM

There's simply is a time for everything.


There is probably no better example than Doug Englebart. Englebart's story is that he invented the basic ideas of networked computing, the GUI, hypertext and the mouse ...in 1950.

This article talks about a demonstration he gave in 1968. Just about all the modern niceties of human interaction were demonstrated. The upshot is that everything was so nonstandard it caused Englebart to lose is job, replaced by someone a little more "standardized."

Keeping in the magic theme of things, watch what you wish for because you might just get it. Hearing about it can you honestly say any of these things are intuitive? If so, then why did it take so long (remember Xerox PARC took a pass).

There are all sorts of path breaking interaction design. Not cute. Not based on rampant artistic self indugence. ...just basic beter interaction. But it won't be what users are habituated to -- and let us face facts, what the vast majority of users are habituated to is not good, solid, sound interactiion design. Tim Berners-Lee practically said, if he'd have known anyone would've been using the thing, he'd have rethought the idea of getting places on the WWW by typing htttp://www.blah.com

Quite often magic exists in hindsight alone. A strange mixture of seeing what exists now (or rather, then) through the lens of future potential. As someone who saw this twice before: "Hypercard on the PC is going to change everything" and "hypermedia on CD is going to change everything, the sequal" the internet is going to change everything has pretty much been a prequel until now. Quite frankly, it was boring when Tog was blasting the nonstandard interfaces people were creating with hypercard in the 80s.

And it is real boring the third time around.

Before we make it an even four, let's destinguish that content makes for the magical book. And often the special effects laden extravaganza is pulled down by a bad script and bad acting. I don't think anyone is going to claim the next J.K. Rowling book isn't going to be magical until paper gets an upgrade. And but for print cataloger's moves onto the web, half the magic of content driven design wouldn't be there.

As it has been written, only genius is genius.

There is much magic left undone. It requires exatly zero new technology. So let us get on about it -- shall we.

#32 peter_d

peter_d

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 1914 posts

Posted 04 September 2004 - 05:41 PM

From Only Genius is Genius

Web animation is technology looking for an idea.


Douglas Adams had a good quote, too - "Multimedia is an invention waiting for necessity to mother it".

One of the most critically acclaimed live albums of all time, in terms of production if not the entire musical package, is Live At The Apollo by James Brown. It was recorded in 1960. Even with the huge advances in music production technology since then, I've yet to hear anyone better this. It sounds as incredible now as it ever did.

Shakespeare didn't have a Pentium.

James didn't have ProTools.

The message is everything.

#33 paranoidandroid

paranoidandroid

    Light Speed Member

  • Members
  • 821 posts

Posted 04 September 2004 - 07:08 PM

I like the sentiment of this article, while it may be 4 years old I think it has plenty of relevance to this subject.

http://www.alistapar...cles/marsvenus/

Paragraph from 'Usability experts are from Mars, graphic designers are from Venus'

The web is just too big for one paradigm to prevail. Some sites will need intensive whiz-bang branding that Nielsen’s “principles” won’t allow. Other sites will need moronically basic navigation and speedy download times that Kioken doesn’t care to provide. Most sites will need some combination thereof. So why the war? Why can’t the usability experts and the graphic designers just love each other?


-some of the links in the article do not work or because of the age of the article may have changed, still a good peice though.

#34 peter_d

peter_d

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 1914 posts

Posted 04 September 2004 - 07:39 PM

I think the language is rather telling....

...other sites will need moronically basic navigation


Wonder if he'd describe a door as being "moroniclly basic"? Perhaps the Minimalist art movement is "moronic"? The Beatles were "moronic" because they didn't play big-band Jazz? Since when does "whiz-bang" equal "arty and intelligent", when it is just as likely to equal "overblown pile of self-indulgent garbage"?

It isn't about loving each other, it's about chosing the right tools for the task. Intensive flash and graphic design have their place on the web (brand, usually) but I wouldn't use it in a shopping cart. It depends on what you are trying to communicate to who.

#35 paranoidandroid

paranoidandroid

    Light Speed Member

  • Members
  • 821 posts

Posted 04 September 2004 - 08:24 PM

...other sites will need moronically basic navigation


ok maybe he doesn't do his argument any favours with this use of language. He was making the point that there is a time for using simplifed navigation design. In fact Cloninger refers to Jakob Neilsen's ideas as a sorce for coming up with fresh webdesign concepts on his site.

Since when does "whiz-bang" equal "arty and intelligent"

I personnaly don't think it does, and I don't think Cloninger said it did either.

The basis of the article makes the exact point that you stated Peter-

it's about chosing the right tools for the task


I can't agree more :)

#36 peter_d

peter_d

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 1914 posts

Posted 04 September 2004 - 08:55 PM

I personnaly don't think it does, and I don't think Cloninger said it did either.


Fair enough :)

I was also referring to a feeling I got from this thread, as well as the type of language the article uses. There is, at times, an implication that clear design = moronic, obscure design = artistic.

A minimalist, clear aesthetic can be artistic. The dense, mysterious, obscure aesthetic can be....[insert your own description here]

#37 peter_d

peter_d

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 1914 posts

Posted 04 September 2004 - 10:05 PM

Incidentily, Kioken is no more, Sony saw the light and went non-flash, and Jakob is still going strong.

I guess Jakob won :)

#38 paranoidandroid

paranoidandroid

    Light Speed Member

  • Members
  • 821 posts

Posted 05 September 2004 - 05:22 AM

Sony may be none flash, but the site still has a strong graphic feel.

Magic can come from the design and the message, sometimes it will need to be both.

I think http://www.apple.com is a good example of how design enhances content.

while http://www.fondex-on...ndex_flash.html is a case of wrong tool for the job.

Improper use of design, un-complimentary design kills the content in the same way that obscure navigation can kill a minimalist design.

I guess Jakob won


:D

In the case of Sony I guess the Anti-flash corner won, which in the majority of cases I would have to agree with. :)



RSS Feed

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users