Design and Function

by Joe Gillespie — Apr 1, 1998

From feedback I get in emails and in the survey forms, this site is being read by a much wider audience than I had originally anticipated. With the fundamentals out of the way, many more people are now concerned with how their sites look and function, and that is what I hope to address.

Design is not a luxury item. It is essential to good communications regardless of whether it is on a printed page, a web page or a television screen.

Some people see it as an 'optional extra', and certain types of design do cost a lot of money. In haute couture and some automotive and industrial design, the high price tags are more to do with high profits than functionality. Stylistic flights-of-fancy do have their place but only as part of an overall mix. Style is only one element of design - not a substitute - and means nothing if the item doesn't deliver on a functional level too.

Like any other new technology, web pages can't go from nowhere to perfection overnight. Compared to print, the evolution of web page design is in its infancy. Sure, we can pick up tricks that were pioneered in print or videographics to shortcut the process, but there are still many new things to explore and learn.

Much of what we see on the web now is just experimentation and, like any experiments, there are some glorious successes and some Frankenstein's monsters. For the moment, we'll have to live with that and take the rough with the smooth.

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