Saturday, May 16, 2015

Why is the Web hard?

What makes the Web difficult? The fact that it's separate from the documents that people create in daily life, i.e. HTML and links...only databases have a linking concept. Word processing, spreadsheets, photos, videos...all standalone files. Modern browsers will do something useful with most any document type, though. Gone are the days when everything had to be HTML. What's more, HTML can be easily written in word processors. Notably, Open/Libre Office does a good job. The real issue is expectations...people expect the kind of visual experience that only magazines, historically, have provided. That's a high bar to shoot for in casual documents. That kind of creativity can't be programmed. Graphically sophisticated templates have formed a middle ground. The creative part gets done once, then text is inserted in predetermined spots, with font properties defined in CSS for consistency. Even so, high quality articles with context specific graphics stand out, which is what severely limits the number of people who can do it well.