Aesthetics and Accessibility - A Spiel on Web Design


Originally from http://oshibanashiori.wordpress.com

For a long time, a gripe of mine has been aesthetics and accessibility of user's pages. Let me take a step back for a moment here and let me backtrack to the reason why this is the case.

Although I greatly respect and am thankful to those individuals that spend countless hours coding and contributing to the pool of free resources to the community, often these so-called 'templates' are the marks of bad design. Although they look nice aesthetically, in terms of accessibility, they score quite poorly.

For me, I am a lazy coder, which is why I often prefer to make modifications of code rather than to write my own. Sometimes this involves my overstepping some of these boundaries to a degree, but so goes the saying 'what they don't know won't kill them'. I keep their line of credits, I make sure that is known that the CSS originally belonged to them, so in doing that, I feel as though I've justified myself in partaking of these actions. Of course, it doesn't change the fact that I've altered their code - sometimes quite drastically, but in my eyes this is an improvement anyway, as conceited as it seems, and therefore can in no way hurt them.

I am quite critical when it comes to judging design, even when people often say that Kiri is a person that doesn't judge. Perhaps not a judge of people, but a judge of objects I certainly am.

Certain features to point out about most templates, as a general overview are often two main factors: text size, and screen resolution problems.

The text of most templates is often set to an extremely small size in order to make the overall layout look nicer. While I agree that the overall effect achieved is quite pleasant to look at, it's hardly easy to read without eyestrain. This lack of thought to the purpose and consideration of different audiences of something that I think definitely should be called out.

Another smaller occurrence of problems with text (which may or may not include the above) would be that often a dark text will be put on a dark background, or a light grey text placed on a white background which again makes it extremely hard for the reader, and they will lose interest or end up frustrated.

The second problem, as I mentioned, is screen resolution. These days as screens get bigger, people build pages on the assumption that everyone else has the same screen size as them, which makes it difficult for netbook and smaller notebook computer users to access these pages properly; because they are only designed to be viewed on certain resolutions. Again, I see this to be a mark of bad design, and is poor planning.

While this is only a short analysis on what I could say on the subject of web design - I have been described as meticulous by one TypeDom - I find these two marks to be particularly problems I have noted in the use of several sites, including but not limited to Tumblr and Livejournal. Unless you are not expecting anyone else to use your page, you are free to code your page to your requirements, however in doing so, you are in part ignoring a whole category of people that cannot efficiently or easily access your page.

This is a two way street after all, if you want people to read what you have to say, then you have to give them some consideration. That's not to say that is the only thing that will ensure you an audience, however a good design always is more attractive than a 'shoddy' one.