Gradients, Drop-Shadows, Reflections, Oh My!
Many things could fall in the category of “beautiful” or “attractive” in the context of Web design. But several factors would make such beauty shallow. For example, is a website more attractive if it has tastefully placed drop shadows, gradients or reflections? What if it has an eye-pleasing color scheme? What about big over-designed buttons? Could these be standards by which a design would be deemed beautiful?
If you’ve been keeping tabs on the Web design industry in the last five years, you’ve probably at some point visited one of the many CSS galleries. Of course, visiting those inspirational showcases is excellent, and I’m sure we’ve all done it. Still, we need to be careful not to fall into the copycat syndrome, whereby we prettify our websites for no other reason than to make them CSS gallery-worthy.
The Dribble Syndrome
With the recent popularity of Dribble, the copycat syndrome might be gaining momentum. On Dribble, a designer reveals a sample of something they’re working on, and then the style of that small snippet starts spreading. The context and strategy underlying it are unknown, yet the type is still viewed as beautiful in and of itself. The designer may have taken hours, days, or weeks to arrive at the decisions that informed the design, but now that it’s out in the wild, the snippet becomes nothing more than eye candy.
What Makes A Design Usable?
I’m not about to make a case for bringing back blue links on a white background on every website. As I’ll explain, both Nettuts+ and Facebook may very well qualify as stunning websites. The examples above were more illustrative and not meant to criticize the designers who worked on them.
Usable Doesn’t Have To Mean Ugly.
My purpose here was not to tell designers to forget slickness, sexiness, and beauty. This should be obvious from the beautiful examples shown, which qualify as both usable and attractive. No one expects owners of beautiful websites to suddenly drop their enhancements in favor of the Craigslist look to make them more functional.
Web Security: Are You Part of the Problem?
Website security is an interesting topic and should be high on the radar of anyone who has a Web presence under their control. Inadequate Web security leads to all of the things that make us hate the Web: spam, viruses, identity theft, to name a few.
The problem with Web security is that it is also very complex as necessary as it is. I am sure that some of you who were reading this are already part of a network of attack computers and that your servers are sending out spam messages without you even knowing it. Your emails and passwords have been harvested and resold to people who think you need either a new watch, a male enhancement product, or a cheap mortgage. The fact is, you are part of the problem, and you don’t know what you did to cause it.
Different Types of Attacks. What Do These Words Mean?
Let’s quickly go through the different items mentioned in the graph above, explaining what they are and what they mean.
Check Your Log Files
Every server comes with log files that you can access. Many hosting companies even give you detailed statistics showing where visitors have gone and what they did. Usually, we just use these to check the number of visitors, what browsers they used, where they came from, when they arrived and which websites were most successful. This is what makes us happy and allows us to track our progress.
Making ideas happen isn’t easy and requires patience, determination, and hard work. The most important part of it is not just coming up with a promising concept but instead rethinking it repeatedly, implementing it, and then putting it into practice.
Most inventions come from necessity, so pay attention to minor problems in your environment and find simple solutions to these problems. Do not sit idle on the idea — act instead. Take opposing thoughts and resolve them in your innovative designs. And keep innovating all the time, one step at a time.