Put on your critical thinking caps…

In web design there are very few absolutes. There are multiple ways to markup pages, limitless directions a design can take and no single right or wrong way to run a business. The knowledge and skills we posses today will be outdated tomorrow and if there’s one universal truth, I’d say it’s that to be a web designer is to accept change. We’ve got to be problem solvers, critical thinkers and open to being influenced by the ever-evolving industry around us. Those who are unwavering in their opinions & unwilling to adapt will have no impact as things move forward.

Recently, I’ve seen some really good debates sparked, willingly or unwillingly, that I think help to keep us on our toes. I’m not saying you have to agree with any of these assertions, nor that I completely agree. I’m saying that it’s in our best interests as a community to at least hear them out.

Make Your Mockup in Markup by Meagan Fisher

Recently, thanks in large part to the influence of design hero Dan Cederholm, I’ve come to the conclusion that a website’s design should begin where it’s going to live: in the browser.
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There are currently 170 comments on this article. Most of them are complimentary or thoughtful questions in regards to feasibility. On the other hand, it amazes me to see absolute statements that this would never work. Some people are highly fluent in graphic editors and some straight up speak code. I’ve seen Dave Rupert design sites on the fly in code quicker than I can get my photoshop pixels sorted and pushed to make even a simple change. Surprise! Everyone is different.

Ignorance Is Bliss by Andy Clarke

Often when I talk or write about using progressive CSS, people ask me, “How do you convince clients to let you work that way? What’s your secret?” Secret? I tell them what they need to know, on a need-to-know basis.
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The main gripes here revolve around the argument that not telling clients that their site will look different in various browsers is deceptive. Specifically, that CSS3 rounded corners won’t be visible in IE and clients should be told about that. I didn’t take the article as Andy telling me how to run my business, but sharing how he runs his. All the things I do at the office to manage expectations, specs, timelines and budgets are improv and I gladly welcome a fresh take on how to approach projects and get stuff done.

Life Below 600px by Paddy Donnelly

The fold is one of those guidelines that has been thrown about so much that it’s now become a ‘rule’ of web design (or maybe more appropriately a ‘ball and chain’ of web design) with web designers blindly obeying without question.
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I really like the way this article was written. Paddy takes a strong stance on questioning convention without completely shunning any opposing viewpoints. He skillfully presents his opinion with a really nice ‘question everything and decide for yourself’ approach. Of course there are a few nay saying remarks from people I’m not sure even read the entire article. I found it to be a refreshing call to reevaluate the way we design content and to carefully consider any design rule before automatically following it.

Web Designers Who Can’t Code by Elliot Jay Stocks

Honestly, I’m shocked that in 2010 I’m still coming across ‘web designers’ who can’t code their own designs. No excuse.
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This tweet set the Interweb ablaze yesterday with a raucous debate on whether or not web designers should be able to code. Apparently, 140 characters are enough to incite every agency on earth to tweet or post about their stance on the issue. As things winded down, Elliot was kind enough to parse all the chatter into a well-written summary accompanied by a tweak / change in opinion. Elliot, good sir, you’re doin’ it right.

Here’s to us…

So after all this arguing and debate what are we left with? We’re left with a gigantic mess and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Here’s to the web design community. May we slug it out every day, leaving those so set in their ways absolutely positioned in the past.