This is a great interview with Oliver Reichenstein, because it allows us to tap the vast resource of his idiosyncratic knowledge1 about design fundamentals and inspiration.
Incidentally, the lack of methodical knowledge production is one of the main problems with the field of design. It is full of opinionated people, be they self-conscious or self assured creative types, but it is completely devoid of established structures that could provide an objective evaluation perspective to determine the merit of a design. In effect, design evaluation is highly contingent on the prestige of its auteur: As long as “good taste” is the purported foundation of good design, there is no ulterior point of reference other than subjective opinion. This leaves us without recourse in fanboy debates. And that is why Microsoft or Apple design is always being judged on the merit (or detriment) of its authorship. ↩︎
I’d like to introduce the concept of the usability fallback to you. The redesign of my site prompted me to think about web design approaches again and I’m going to share my thought process. There are a couple of things I learned, too.
My new design is based on the idea of giving the content center stage and imbuing it with a sense of device agnostic functional minimalism.1 Since I wrote the previous post I have updated the design to address the fact that people will get to see the content via different technology in different browsers. Now there are contingency mechanisms in place that should afford all users at least the basic experience of seeing the content and being able to navigate it.
However, unlike the concept of graceful degradation or progressive enhancement, a usability fallback does not aim to create the most pleasant experience possible for each browser. Quite on the contrary: I think graceful degradation is a cancer to the web2 and I find it a defensible compromise only for a select set of scenarios, which really only should concern professional web designers working to meet specific project constraints. Building a personal online presence is not one of those scenarios.3
The lack of posts recently is due to me overhauling my online presence. I designed a whole new concept, something a tad more presentable, I hope, showing off my penchant for minimalism and experimenting with subtle interaction cues.
I am not a web designer by profession, but I do try to keep up with design trends and practices, if only so I can make informed decisions when I provide consultancy, but also because I believe in “eating my own dog food” as people with actual coding skills might say. So I got all down and dirty and am happy with the result. More importantly, I brushed up on my CSS skills doing the redesign and I really, really love learning new things. I may even have come across a browser hack for a particular solution that I could not find elsewhere:
I will give you an in-depth guide of the :active+:hover minimalist accordion solution later. Spoiler alert!1 For now I would totally appreciate it, if you checked out my new home.
If you’ve been to my home page before, you may have to clear your browser cache to see the new design. Shift reload. Please tell me about anything strange you encounter. Thanks!
Next up: Streamlining my tumblr theme with the new design. Oh, bother.
I made iOS register :active state with a touchstart event. And then I hacked the blight of mobile safari not keeping my damn content visible without selecting the text with an empty OnClick declaration. The pain… ↩︎