Response to Homework #2: Visual Style Is More Important on the Web

As per the norm, all grades are on Blackboard.

The web is still mostly text, but styled interactive text

One of the big mistakes a lot of first time web designers make is not thinking about style. CRAP is a great way to do that, but Nick’s content chunking article is also important, as are Wachter-Boettcher’s suggestions (geez, that woman’s name is hard to spell).

Take my own website for instance. Here it is with content chunks (or content rules, as Wachter-Boettcher explains):

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 4.58.44 PM

Here it is without loading CSS (via Firefox > View > Page Style > No Style):

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 5.10.11 PM

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 5.10.27 PM

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 5.10.48 PM

Looks slightly different, huh? The material difference here is CSS, but the rhetorical difference is that content is not chunked or grouped in any discernible fashion. CSS is the material way you make this happen, but if you can’t conceive of content in a rhetorical way, via content rules or chunks, then you won’t get there no matter how much code you know.

Which is why content strategy is more important than code

I said this in Module 1 and I will say it again now: code is easy; content is hard. Most people think of things in the opposite fashion, but it is simply not true. Code is like the basic math on which the web runs, but content strategy is what makes people care about it.

So maybe content strategy isn’t more important than code, but it is at least equally as important, which is why I picked the dual emphasis for this class. If you can’t build content rules, can’t strategize, and can’t understand the difference between a scannable website and one that no one wants to use, then you’re not of much use to the design community. Because believe me: there are PLENTY of designers out there who don’t understand those things, but who make wonderful code. Who do you think is making all those unusable websites we encounter on a daily basis?

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