The old maxims were gradually replaced, and new leaders appointed through the democracy of retweets. No books were burned, although a few were traded in on Amazon. Our industry has undergone a genteel revolution. But listen closely and you may notice a more aggressive tone. The designers led us astray! The web has become bloated, and it’s only pure luck that mobile arrived to save us, deus ex machina, from our past excesses.I prefer to recognise complexity than assume incompetence. No designer wants to add unnecessary elements, or another column of pageview-sucking linkbait. These designers knew what’s good for users and the web. However, design is more complex than the slogans suggest.Real design is political. It’s making the case for fluidity when the client isn’t confident enough to yield control of pixels. It’s persuasion, reciprocity, and benign skullduggery. It’s a constant negotiation between what the consultant sees as harmful, but the client sees as essential.If the planets are aligned, it might just produce something the community deems worthy. But far more often, good design produces a modest improvement, a compromise, or a disaster narrowly averted.So let me speak on behalf of the designers who are accused of causing this apparent mess:We know.We’re trying.But it’s not that easy.
07 Dec 2012