The Web Dogma 10 years on: tarnished or timeless?


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The Web Dogma was first conceived in 2003 as a set of usability best practices that transcended fashion and technology. Today, these guidelines are used by thousands of designers and studios the world over. But as we enter a new age where "responsive design" and "mobile first" have become the watchwords of a new generation, has the Web Dogma stood the test of time? The answer may surprise you!

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The Web Dogma 10 years on: tarnished or timeless?

  1. 1. The Web Dogma – 10 years later Trancendental? Time-tested? Tarnished? Trash? Eric Reiss Big Design 19 October 2013 Dallas, TX
  2. 2. The Hives - Sweden
  3. 3. (Texan)
  4. 4. But online, some fashions change… “Links should be blue and underlined” “Flash is 98% bad” “Text should be no more than 10 lines”
  5. 5. Do design rules stifle creativity? You tell me....
  6. 6. My questions back in 2003: Is fashion avoidable in a design philosophy? Does technology always drive design?
  7. 7. dog·ma noun 1 : a tenent or code of tenents
  8. 8. My concept Create a set of best practices that transcend both technology and fashion
  9. 9. 1. Anything that exists only to 1. satisfy the internal politics of the site owner must be eliminated.
  10. 10. Photo: Lynn Boyden
  11. 11. SE
  12. 12. Ten years ago: It was about fighting internal politics. Today: Same same. Plus even more lawyers and sex.
  13. 13. 2. Anything that exists only to 1. satisfy the ego of the designer must be eliminated.
  14. 14. The Afterlife:
  15. 15. Ten years ago: It was about improving usability by reducing the effects of designer ego. Today: Same same. Plus even bigger egos. And even more arrogance.
  16. 16. 3. Anything that is irrelevant 1. within the context of the page must be eliminated.
  17. 17. Ten years ago: It was about feng shui. Today: Same same. Plus eliminating dark patterns.
  18. 18. 4. Any feature or technique that 1. reduces the visitor’s ability to navigate freely must be eliminated.
  19. 19. Ten years ago: It was about navigation. Today: Same same. Plus ergonomic and paywall issues.
  20. 20. 5. Any interactive object that 1. forces the visitor to guess its meaning must be eliminated.
  21. 21. Ten years ago: It was about eliminating guesswork. Today: Your guess is still as good as mine.
  22. 22. 6. No software, apart from the 1. browser itself, must be required to get the site to work correctly.
  23. 23. Ten years ago: It was about eliminating extra software Today: Less of a problem today, but still there. The problem has moved to mobile, where services require proprietary apps for nonresponsive sites.
  24. 24. 7. Content must be readable 1. first, printable second, downloadable third.
  25. 25. Ten years ago: It was mainly about getting rid of PDFs. Today: Same same. Adobe has more clout than I do.
  26. 26. 8. Usability must never be 1. sacrificed for the sake of a style guide.
  27. 27. 2009 2010 2012
  28. 28. Ten years ago: It was about getting ad agencies to understand. Today: Smite them down, oh Lord. Let the geeks inherit the earth!
  29. 29. 9. No visitor must be forced to 1. register or surrender personal data unless the site owner is unable to provide a service or complete a transaction without it.
  30. 30. Ten years ago: The marketers were gathering unnecessary data. Today: Same same. Plus inconvenience at the touch of a finger!
  31. 31. 10. Break any of these rules 1. sooner than do anything outright barbarous!
  32. 32. George Orwell Author: Animal Farm, “1984”
  33. 33. Ten Sixty years ago: George was damned smart. Today: George’s intellect is timeless.
  34. 34. Does the Web Dogma still work? I leave that up to you to decide.
  35. 35. But one thing is beyond discussion: If we do not demand better websites, we will never get them. Don’t just prevent bad things from happening, you can make wonderful things happen.
  36. 36. Thanks!
  37. 37. Eric Reiss can (usually) be found at: The FatDUX Group ApS Strandøre 15 2100 Copenhagen Denmark Office: (+45) 39 29 67 77 Mobil: (+45) 20 12 88 44 Twitter: @elreiss