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Basically both are considered Gurus in web design but with two very different styles and different expectations of the web and their users. I looked at the two sites today because of this article - and they are both fantastic sites - for very different reasons; leading me to the question:
Where do people here see the web going? (3 - 10 years)
And which approach is going to make money?
I don't think this is the future of the web, but there will be groups of designers that will continue to expand the frontier in this direction.
If new standards take hold XHTML will really help the designer who must design for efficiency, multiple browser display, usability, and accessibility - with data separation built in as well!
It will be a great day when the majority of browsers render an HTML page the same way. :-)
Both. The web will never be all one thing or another, no matter how much the pundits try to convince us otherwise. That is the beauty of the web. As for a number game, well, there are probably only so many high-end web designers, or so it seems, but I'd like to think every site could be made a bit more usable.
At least in the short-term, Nielson. Usability can be applied to the universal problem of getting people to part with their money on e-commerce sites, something that directly affects everyone from the Fortune 500 to Mom & Pop. In the long-term, anything can change with the popularization of 'new' revenue models for content.
Great web design usability is needed on all websites that are of an informative nature. If your usability sux, just say bye bye to traffic.
Praystation is great as 'web-art'. Those great experiments can lead to new usable forms of displaying information or a different type of navigation. Mr. Davis can make money when he offers his services as a creative person on the field of webdesign.
So, to answer your question "Where do people here see the web going (3 - 10 years)";
Website usability should becomes a top priority on the agenda's of website-designers. I think most existing websites need a urgent 'makeover' based on the guidelines of Mr. Nielsen. Website usability is the feng shui of webdesign ;-)
Apart from that, I think sean got it right. Real life has room for esoteric avantgarde art as well as for thoughfully structured technical manuals, and everything in between, of course. Why should the web be any different?
It's art, it's not meant to be got ;)
There are some really interesting and quiet beautiful exhibits - under the machines, weird ambient music that changes (I think) when various things are moved and some fantastic colours.
One of the things that I wish I bought up in the initial post is that Joshua Davis accuses Nielson of stifling inovation and creativity on the web, leading to the many examples of corporate blandness that we see everyday. Is this accusation fair?
Nielson can no more stifle creativity on the web than Michael Medved can stifle violence in movies. Nielson is an advocate of usability (and a vocal one at that), but he can't change the way the world designs. No one has that much power.
Have I taken into consideration some of his suggestions? Sure...a lot of them are valid points. Do I design sites strictly from a Nielsonian viewpoint. No.
To say the web is evolving into a Joshua Davis form versus a Nielson form is impossible to forecast. If anything, it will stay the way it is now: the Joshua Davis's on one side, Jakob Nielsons on the other, and the majority of designers somewhere in the middle.
Personally, I am extremely envious of Davis' talent, but glad I don't have the somewhat limited view of Nielson.
And, FWIW, great topic gethan!
it's only a problem if you go to extremes...if the only factor is usability you have relative few options for changing the aesthetics of the site, but you still have some...if you go all out for excitement there may be some insoluble usability problems, but probably very few if you really put your mind to it
in reality we all strive for usability and for excitement and aesthetic appeal (at least I hope so)...we will continue to do so
what the future of the web holds is more diversity in content, more variation in browsing environments, and more of those interesting restraints that have made art exciting since the origin of man
i didn't understand praystation at all, nor did i find it aesthetically pleasing
and it froze my browser.
i'm all for creativity but when someone compares THEMSELVES to a major 20th century artist i'm always a bit suspicious
If your goal is to attract as many people as possible, and to offer them something that triggers them to give you money for it, then any high tech gizmos and graphic extravaganza will stand in the way of that goal.
If your goal is to "express yourself artistically", then you can use any gadget and violate any useability guideline you like, and you may have reached your goal anyway, even before the first visitor has ever seen your site. And by doing so, you still adhere to Nielsen's principles!
I'd actually turn the accusation around: Nielsen knows very well that the spectrum has two ends (at least) and that each has its place. Davis appears to deny the justification of any other aspect than creativity, and thus stifles useability. Of course this is a very speculative assumption from my side, as I can't make heads nor tails of his site... ;)
>>> >>the most creative stuff is the simplest.
and also the simplest stuff can work when it's ordinary
whereas when you start to get complicated you need an awful lot more talent,
(not suggesting people here are not astonishingly talented, but for me who is only average then simple works better)
I think web sites like a lot of things are mainly down to personal opinion. Give me a site that's easy to use and a bit more colourful and exciting than a funeral and I'm a happy man..
If you have your colors set to 16 bit or higher you should be able to see what praystation.com is about. It is about exploring a new medium. Josh sets up constraints in flash the users come along and interact with those constraints and the results are displayed on the screen.
Some people like the way it looks (they also stare at screensavers sometimes)
Other people dont get it (why may shapes and colors swirl around)
In another universe Jakob is presenting information. That is all he is presenting, his opinion of what makes web sites easily navigateable.
I think they can both exist in harmony.
Praystation is not trying to sell anything or impart information to the user, hence clicking here and there to explore is a great navigation tool for it.
Jakob is trying to sell his books, future appetencies, and ideas hence he preaches like a mad dog and eats his own dog food.
Like my mammy used to say -- there is a time and a place for everything.
I too don't understand that greyed out site. I don't like arriving at a web page, and taking more than 30 seconds to understand the way to get the different pages, what the sites purpose is, etc.
Sure, I clicked a few things, hoping an explanation of some sort would show up when it didn't, I closed my browser window.
However, I also think that things are not 'progressing' to one side or the other...most stuff will fall somewhere between, striving to be comprehensible and yet cutting edge at least, that's what we do when we put a new site out there.
Expected models, or archtypes, can be stale and boring, so imho, a good designer constantly tries to recreate, or take a fresh perspective on usable, intelligent design. This doesn't mean they only use one or two graphics, with tons of text in two or three font sizes and bolded headings, nor does it mean that we should all strive for pages that urge the user 'don't understand me, just look' because looking is not what the web is about.
Again, nice topic. :)
What many of you miss, but some of you clearly see is the two web sites are not exclusive of each other. Indeed there can be a web site that is asthetically pleasing and maintains a high usability.
Both "experts" are in the far edges of their studies - which what makes them so interesting to the media.
Nielsen and his firm has advised several large commercial sites, still you won't see anything like useit.com in them.
Usability can be encompassed in art, and vica versa.
For myself, I no longer find many of the avante garde art sites quite so avante garde...
The following example is tiresome at best... But! That is only MY opinion. Others may be enthralled.
Nielsen's approach as well as his pontificating is not exactly my preference either.
I like good, accessible information sites the don't reach out too far in either extreme.
Flash is passe.... Loved it once, hate it now. It still has its uses but frankly, I find too many sites where flash only makes for a difficult surfing experience.
No doubt about the comments: there is room for all. And as such, we will seek out what appeals to us and "dis" the rest - human nature!
I guess for some people part of the 'art' of a site is the intrigue factor - "now how do I work this thing?" - "Oh, I see, thats cute!"
Except for me its "now why should I waste time working this out" - "back button!"
But thats fine, I am not their target audience.
I enjoyed the Tate Modern Art Gallery - but for all the wrong reasons - p**sed myself laughing:)
I think both sites are simultaneously very bad and very good. Both demonstrate the extremes of ideology very well but neither are particularly compelling because of it.
the first four (short) paragraphs sum up Josh's sites perfectly:
as for "usability with good design" - I'm personally very fond of:
anyway, back to the question:
It's going to get bigger :) and both approaches will make money because some people demand a more creative off-the-beaten-track approach, and others need a more usable, straight-forward, familiar experience.
That's all very well but difference for difference sake is a pretty shallow objective if you ask me. Nice for an undergraduate arts course exercise, but not something anyone would want to spend anytime using.
alistapart is indeed cool - taking ideology and actually creating something great rather than simply indulging in an academic exercise.
In any event, I'd hate to think those two were my only choices currently.
In 3-10 years, internet connections way faster than DSL will be ubiquitous. The camp making money on website design hasn't yet been conceived.