I just finished reading Understanding Web Design by Jeffrey Zeldman over on A List Apart and I must say I haven’t read a better summation of web design and why it is so misunderstood.
Mr. Zeldman sums it up in a great definition:
Web design is the creation of digital environments that facilitate and encourage human activity; reflect or adapt to individual voices and content; and change gracefully over time while always retaining their identity.
I couldn’t say it better. My design passion and education was honed in paper and ink but I didn’t and don’t fail to grasp the Web as the medium it is. The web allows all users, viewers and readers to interact with and adjust their environments, flexing and moulding my carefully crafted design to suit their own needs.
Designers coming from a tightly controlled world of print—where every drop of ink is identical for every admirer—often see the web as limiting, or as Mr. Zeldmn points out, they don’t see us web designers as “true” designers. However, I believe that we as web designers are not limited by our tools, in-fact, we are set free. We are not forced to constrain our works so that one satisfies all. Our can adapt and change, it is meant to become what each person wants, in their own way.
Our sole job as web designers is to encourage others to interact with our work and in return, rewarded those people with a fulfilling experience. Designers who fail to understand that symmetry and consistency for every viewer should not be the ultimate goal, are doomed to failure and will never achieve the definition of Web design proposed above. They will be destine to sell real-estate not build cathedrals. They’ll become Helvetica, not Rosewood.