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On the other hand, I tend to agree with the guys at Web Pages That Suck about things like this... they don't allow "personal" websites in the running for their "Daily Sucker" bad website feature. They reason that only people putting on airs of professionalism (businesses, web designers, etc.) should be subjected to stylistic critiques.
After all, anyone can buy an HTML editing program and throw up their "look at my pretty pictures" Geocities site, as long as they're not putting on the pretension that they're "professional" caliber designers, or that it's a respectable "business" web site.
The people who really need to be spanked for bad site design and ugly graphics are the people who build an incredibly ugly site promoting their "top-notch web design" services.
It is true that the most pathetic display is a corporate site that has garbage design.
I tend to think that the web is getting slightly better in the way of aesthetics.
Of course, personal and "I'll-do-it-myself-thank-you-very-much" small business sites will continue to stink for the same reason that professional graphic designers didn't go extinct even after "desktop publishing" became easy and affrodable: a lot of people don't even have the design sense god gave a gopher, and the ones smart enough to know it keep professional designers in business.
Also, I just checked and was reminded that Web Pages That Suck doesn't even do critiques of web designers' pages... they fear it might look like a conflict of interest. They only skewer non-design-related business sites.
Besides I have seen much worse sites - some from those purporting to be professional web designers sites, I guess you could call it over the top but I often find myself looking at the source of sites and its amazing how many web design companies make a hash of it. I remember looking at a few in a row that ad all used templates from a web authoring package, one of them even insisted they dont use templates for the sites they create (yeah right).
I've got a few sites in mind here. ;) I just get very leery of putting out 'poison pen' links to people's sites... I like to think good and bad design both speak for themselves, and you never know what might come back to haunt you!
I want to apologize if I people think I posted this discussion with the wrong intent.
You can learn to design sites well by looking at bad designs, whether they be navigation-wise or in the actual design aspect.
What kills me is when I will go to a site that isn't half-bad, and upon following the link to the designer's page, it is atrocious. Why would you want to represent yourself in this way?
I guess there's no need to rant and rave about things that are beyond my control.......
Not at all! I don't think your intent was anything beyond: "Hey, look at this really bad site., isn't that awful?" (The music was the worst part, I think...)
I think the whole idea of whether or not a certain type of site should be jusdged by the same standards as another is interesting. It's the personal & hobby sites that often have the most interesting content. A corporate/business site usually only goes so far afield from their "We're so cool" and "Buy our stuff" goals. But the corporate/business sites usually have the best design, because nobody's going to pay a professional deisgner to build a hobby page about their deep and abiding love (and detailed knowledge) of organic gardening...
And artists' sites can be the worst! Just because you can paint doesn't mean you can lay out a web site... but because they're "artists", they (more often than not) think they'll know best in any aesthetic matter.
And the idea that there are people who will never, regardless of training, be able to come up with a truly good design for anything is also intriguing to me...
Makes me wonder if those people who don't know how to change their own car tires really have fundamentally different aptitudes than those of an auto mechanic. So the whizbang graphic designer can't tighten a bolt, and the auto mechanic couldn't lay out a decent business card design if his life depended on it... Is this all learned? Or is there really a fundamental difference between the two people? Nature or Nurture?
Blah, blah and other deep and meaningful ponderings...
I've helped launch a web design company in the last couple of weeks hence why I was looking up web designers sites and you would be amazed - I think I looked for web design uk (or something) and most of them were poorly designed and/or based on templates (and I mean when you look at the source code it literally says <!-- template xyz -->)
Interesting what you say Mivox, my "day job" is programming and when I come home in the evening I still retain a keen interest in it - yet I know some people who work in IT yet dont even own a computer - its more like just a job for them. I've also read more recently of a lot of younger people getting into IT related things more because the "pay is good" than because they will enjoy it.
I personally think you can learn anything.
I was asked to critique such a site for someone today. They were trying to sell high value, prestige products using.... bright red text on a turquoise background. Plus 20 animated gifs per page (well, it felt like it). Terrifyingly awful - instant migraine.
Naturally, I immediately tore it to shreds and pitched extremely high for the redesign ;)