Over on the "pet peeves" topic, the conversation moved into actual content, and how lots of people sort of expect the Web designer to handle the written content itself. That got me thinking.
As I scan more sites, not to use, but because SuN members have asked for thoughts and critique, I`ve been seeing the Web site concept differently. I seem to divide all sites into three categories:
- Amazon-type places, where the search capability is crucial, and generates summary information directly related to my needs;
- Wikipedia-type places, where I expect to find a long article and have the time and desire to read it;
- Brochure-type sites.
Would you say that factors such as monitors, lighting, contrast, fonts, and so forth are different electronically than on a piece of paper? Why haven`t e-book readers caught on like wildfire yet? Can we say that a well-designed site looks more like a well-designed 3-color brochure than some other print comparison? If not, what other hardcopy examples come the closest?
Hyperlinks on a Web site far-and-away exceed the old Index at the back of a book. Instant page-turning for lookups, related info, and so forth, make it fantastic: IF it`s used in some "correct" fashion. What is that fashion?
Forums, electronic order forms, calculated fields also make life better than cork bulletin boards and print media in many cases. But why is Web writing going to make life "better" than doing it the old fashioned way?
Content is content. Words are words, so writing is still writing. SEO writing notwithstanding, people still have to read something on a Web site. But LOTS of people have said fonts being too small, distracting colors, and animated Flash are serious peeves.
Aren`t things like that the exact same peeves editors and layout designers have had over the past 100 years? Is it that anyone can pop together a Web site (just as anyone can attempt desktop publishing)?
Basically, I`m looking for a historically successful form of presenting language- and image-based information that we can translate almost directly into Web site design, layout, and structure: Any thoughts?