10 May 2012
This month’s thought may be a rant or two, and a plea, or rather, a dare.
Flash died, I heard. The only thing is, suboptimal interaction design wasn’t some kind of child of Flash. It was the offspring of designers; the decisions some of us make. Some of those offspring are still very much alive. The only difference now is that instead of those decisions being encapsulated in Flash, they’re being coded into HTML, CSS, and JS by wily front-end developers at the mercy of their agency overlords for their daily bread: Animations that just…won't…stop. Un-mutable music (hello Geocities, again). Sliding, jumping, bouncing, parallax-ing, hiccuping, flatulent decorations and controls. Force-fed, on-message advertising, masquerading as interaction, with accessibility something that might be mindfully included if the developer has time. Stop it! Please!
Let me pick up on one more bug in the system: The white-labelling of freelancers and subcontractors by agencies. That insidious situation where, under the dubious restrictive practice of perma-NDAs, some companies hoover up the credit for every aspect of a piece of work, and do not allow the freelancer to talk about what they’ve done. Stop it! Give credit. Let folks own the right to talk about their work as long as everyone else gets a mention, with a link, and a note to say exactly who did what at the start of the case study.
Let’s create an ecosystem of credit where it’s OK that ad-hoc teams come together around a project. In fact it’s something to be proud of! That’s the reality after all. That’s the truth. It’s OK to say so-and-so did this bit, but we did that. It worked out fine. No reputations were harmed in the making of this website, app, or service by an ad-hoc team. In fact, they were all the better for it. If companies like the ones I’m scolding dare to give a little credit, I’d bet they’d find it comes back with interest. Go on agencies, I double dare you with extra whitespace.