The bad side of the Web in 2006

Its that time of year for Digg posts about the best designs this year, but there are a few good posts out there that chart the trends that have had effect this year. I like this one because they are accessibility/usability based issues rather that flat out pretty/not pretty design issues 456 Berea Street has charted a few of the bad: Overuse of JavaScript frameworks/libraries. Back to the 90’s, baby, except they were called DHTML libraries that time around. What is it with people learning a JavaScript library instead of learning to write JavaScript? It’s like learning Frontpage instead of HTML. Yes, script libraries can be great. But not when people use them because they can instead of because they should. Ajax. People seem to use Ajax for everything, accessibility and best practices be damned. Don’t get me wrong, Ajax can definitely be used well, but just like with Flash it is more common to see it used in the wrong place at the wrong time by people who don’t know what they’re doing or why. High contrast, light-on-dark designs. Argh, my eyes! I explained my feelings about this in Light text on dark background vs. readability. Headings that aren’t real text. They look good if done well. They let visually oriented designers choose any font they want. But from the user’s point of view they suck when you want to print, increase text size, or copy and paste text. Accessibility extremists and design zealots. By acting like fundamentalists unwilling to compromise, these people are contributing to making the Web less accessible and less usable. Accessibility extremists tend to do it by insulting proponents of universality and equal access, design zealots by disregarding usability, accessibility, and common sense in the name of “creativity”. Grow up, both of you. Over-wide, fixed width layouts. Go wide if you must. Use a fixed width if you don’t know how to make a flexible layout. But don’t do both. Horizontal scrolling, no thanks. See more at 456 Berea Street