Jason Santa Maria, New York: jasonsantamaria.com
Dave’s critique: Trying to be tooclever creatively – red type writer?? What’s that all about and you are forced to scroll beneath the fold (600pixels from the top) to read any content. Actual have to scroll about 2000pixels to get to the meat which is ridiculous.
Eric Jordan, California: 2advanced.com
Mckillen’s critique: Serious overuse of flash and falls at what is probably one of the basic no-nos of Webdevelopment and that is having sound load when you visit the site. All they are missing here are the spinningelectric guitars. Although I will saytheir client base might be for high end Flash development (puke) so this typeof site would be a good business card for that.
The quote above, spelling errors included, is an excerpt from a web design blog post I read recently. I use the words “web design” and “blog post” very very loosely here. The blog was written by a self-claimed “Web Development Specialist” from a design firm. He basically Googled for the “top 20 web designers” then gave his review for each of designer’s site. His post drew quite some attention from the web design community, and was taken down after many angry comments. The owner of the firm posted an apology post soon afterwords. I won’t post a link, because I don’t think they deserve anymore attention.
What struck a nerve with me about this particular post isn’t the author himself. I assume he’s young, lacking in design/writing skills and humility. We all were there once, no biggie. For all I know, it could’ve been a clever scheme to draw attention. If it was, it succeeded.
Jason Santa Maria and Eric Jordan are two of very few web designers I consider truly skilled at creative design. The accolade they receive from their peers are solely based on their skills, not because of their e-fame. Both are excellent at creating superb designs for their perspective targeted clients, using their own media of choice. So I felt a bit personal when I saw these two being ridiculed.
More importantly, it made me realize how difficult it is to critique someone’s design fairly and how saturated this market has become.
I recently read an article written by Jeffery Zeldman on Adobe Design Center; I definitely agree with many points he made. In fact, I’d go on and say this is probably the best article he’s ever written, IMO.
Many young web designers view their craft the way I used to view pop culture. It’s cool or it’s crap.
When Style is a fetish, sites confuse visitors, hurting users and the companies that paid for the sites. When designers don’t start by asking who will use the site, and what they will use it for, we get meaningless eye candy that gives beauty a bad name — at least, in some circles.
I’m increasingly growing weary and bored of most web design related sites. I find there’s too much regurgitation and fluff, not enough originality and personality. Much focus are on tools and techniques, rather than fundamental design principles and the human side of design. Unfortunately, some of the really good design sites with quality content get very little visibility in the web design blog-sphere.
I rarely critique any sites’ design I visit these days. The reason is simple: it’s hard for me to give a fair judgment of the site as a whole. For general sites, I typically just glance through the usability and pay far more attention to the content. I can’t comment too much other than that because I don’t know the business behind these sites well or who their audiences are.
I tend to not judge designer’s personal sites. I feel a designer’s own site is his/her sandbox. I can overlook the quirkiness and unorthodox UI for style and personality. I think a designer’s site should reflect his/her personal branding and style. When I see a standard template design(whether it’s overly eye-candy or bare-bone minimalistic), I have to ask, “is that really you?” I don’t know. But graphical design is merely a shell, what keeps me coming back is quality content, and that’s all that matters really.
I apologize this post is somewhat rambling, but since I got this far I’ll end it a few more random thoughts I’ve had lately: