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Re: Steal this post

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 23:18:02 +0000
Message-ID: <3C3E212A.5050005@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Charles F. Munat wrote:

> The problem is that such designers are dinosaurs, though they don't know 
> it. They were trained on one (or both) of two types of media:

I'm not convinced that many "web designers" have been trained. 
Particularly a few years ago, I think the typical designer was
in their early twenties and getting into a niche where the
trained designers were afraid to go.  Things are improving a bit,
as one can tell by the simplification of designs (a mature
designer knows that the design has to be basically simple, with
small numbers of fonts, colours, etc.)

> In both instances, designers believe that they have total control over 
> the user's experience of their "art" (more often, commerce). This is 
> easily seen to be false.

I think the "commerce" is key here.  It is much cheaper to sell to 
someone if you control the experience than if they do.  So this is the
ideal to which popular commercial design aspires.

> Web sites are relative *interactive* media. They are not print, although 
> most designers think of "static" pages as print. They are not 
> television, although many "big" corporate sites are trying hard to make 
> them into TV (or radio). (For big corporate interests, passive viewers 

I would say they were largely succeeding.  I would say the trend is
towards one way communication.  Historically, before the web, the
media businesses were interested in things like video on demand.  Before
they could implement it, they were surprised by the web.  For a short
while, the users were in control, but the businesses finally caught up 
and started using the web for what is close to video on demand.  Now,
the mass market users of the web see it much that way.

> Another thing to understand is that most designers, like most 
> non-designers, are not very creative. Our societies do not encourage 
> creativity. We are carefully schooled to eliminate creativity. Creative 
> people are difficult to control. So most designers (like most 

It's that difficulty of control if the user is allowed initiative which
is why commercial web sites want to "control the experience" and operate
in a largely passive mode.m  The popular web sites tend to be the pop 
music and sports team ones.

> Actually, a web site is data, relationships among data, and 
> transformations that may be applied to that data. These are all 
> abstract. For us to interact with a web site, the 

Unfortunately, data is a very expensive commodity, so the last thing
that web sites want to do is to make it easy to extract.

> These owners, governors, and their representatives are STRONGLY 
> resisting efforts to increase participation. In fact, they are trying to 
> undo the damage already done by the Web. For a description of how this 

I think this is the point I am making, but I'm drawing the conclusion
that after a few years when it got out of control, they are getting
it back under control (and the mass market is generally happy with

> The desire of designers to control the experience of users is rooted in 
> this desire of the establishment to control the masses. Overcoming this 

I think you mean commercial designers - in part they do it because that
is how they get paid.

Also remember that people like Microsoft make their money from 
businesses implementing e-commerce applications, not from the end users,
so they design browsers for businesses - the first change that I noticed
from Mosaic to Netscape was the removal of user configurahility of 
heading sizes.  Even now, very few users know about user defined style 
Received on Thursday, 10 January 2002 18:51:37 UTC

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