Like two Sumo wrestlers warily crouching and circling, website designers and programmers sometimes find themselves face to face ready to do battle. Sumo is said to be as much a mental as physical discipline–opponents have been known to stare at each other far longer than they actually wrestle. In the course of website development, so too have designers and programmers gone (figuratively) to the mat.
Let's consider both perspectives.
Here are the questions I believe website designers should be asking themselves:
- Does my design make the best use of the medium? Does it respect the underlying technology? (Imagine an Eiffel Tower constructed of concrete block.)
- Does the design enhance understanding? Does it guide users to desired outcomes? Or does it confuse, obfuscate, distract, and frustrate?
- Does the design make the technology appear seamless? Does the user experience an aha! moment when the home page opens?
- Is your design truly beautiful or simply tarted up? Beauty compels positive emotions. Plus, it's good for the planet.
Here are the questions programmers should ask:
- Am I infatuated by the technology? Does the site feature functionality just because it can?
- Does the technology respect the right brain? Good design evokes human response; aggressive technology dulls emotions.
- Is the site's application of technology truly innovative or simply experimental? Users are not lab rats.
- Does the technology ensure the integrity of the design, regardless of the device used to access the site? What "best practices" have you learned in the course of website development?
Where do you stand (or crouch) in the wrestling match between design and programming?