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I can't help but want to be in the world of the place I'm going on the web, not have yet another publication, bunch of stuff, floating "ontop" of my desk(top), ontop of someone else's desk(top)!
I feel so removed and uncompelled by that design. I appreciate any insight and fighting back tips, as I fear this might be imposed on me in the future if I don't speak up loudly, now.
Thanks, in advance, for your advise!
The floating centered table, IMO, is a reflection of the fact that humanity has been doing "Fixed Page" design since the invention of the stone tablet and chisel. Add that to the fact that many of the first (and still currently working) web designers started out in a print design (Fixed Page) environment, and you've got thousands of years of design wisdom, and decades of personal experience leading one by the nose to expect that everything must be arranged in a space roughly approximating some shape that could be turned out at the local print shop or granite quarry.
From a usability perspective, the site visitor has also likely had many more years experience dealing with printed materials than web-based interfaces, and is therefore more intuitively at ease with a Fixed Page style of layout.
To do more innovative designs, you have to be extra-super-duper careful to make sure your site navigation is idiot proof, insofar as that is at all possible, but if you can manage that part, I think stretching the boundaries of interactive design is the most intriguiing part about working in web design. It's the main reason I decided to start tinkering with HTML myself, but I admit to having a devil of a time breaking my own brain out of the Fixed Page mentality.
Good Luck! :)
Where I see it most is magazine and newspaper sites. The designers are print designers and want to keep the same look and feel of their publication.
Is the reason for their use simply size/re-sizing control?
I only kind-of get the "from print design" thing, because in print, they, too, wouldn't want to be wasting real estate. I suppose they're now finally able to control the coffee table on which the mag is lying (though the choices here are often questionable) I understand control issues (believe me!), I just think in a world [read: screen] full of boxes, a box inside a box is kind of dumb and a bit cruel. But then, I don't like glass frames on drawings or paintings, either.
Thank for the advise, I'm considering inviting myself across the Atlantic for some development meetings.
I think that's a big part of it. The idea of one's precise page layout sliding around all willy-nilly depending on the visitor's monitor resolution, or window resizing gives print-addicted designers hives.
OTOH, a fixed size/width floating in the middle of the screen 8.5 x 11 type layout almost guarantees that someone's browser/screeen resolution/font/etc., will render the page as an awful mess. If nothing else, using a freely-re-sizing layout could be pitched to the bigwigs as the best way to ensure the page is fully viewable on the largest percentage of potential visitors' computers.
Wouldn't want to scare anyone away with a layout that looked to wide, too narrow, or too small-fonted for someone's unique computer configuration, right? ;)
Thanks for understanding.
Just imagine a web page, with a darling background pattern partially covered by a centered, white-background, 700 pixel wide table full of content. A "piece of paper" (ie- the content table) sitting on a "desktop" (ie- the surrounding background pattern).