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[aprssig] Re: ARRL Web Site Propagating Out-Of-Data APRS Into

Steve Dimse steve at dimse.com
Fri Mar 31 21:09:51 UTC 2006


On Mar 31, 2006, at 2:14 PM, KC2MMI ((Jared)) wrote:

>  Ouch! I'm sure you didn't mean that nasty slam, but graphic  
> artists are *not*
> beauticians, they are often extensively trained in the psychology  
> of design and
> how to make it more effective.

Ouch, that sounded like you were slamming beauticians ;-) I meant to  
slam neither graphic artists nor beauticians (whom I never mentioned,  
and certainly did not equate to graphic artists), both are honorable  
professions. My point was that paying for a graphic artist to improve  
the page might not be necessary, and may even be detrimental.

Did you read the article I refer to? The premise as I read it was  
that application of design principles to web sites can be counter- 
productive. Yes, a professional can apply balance, contrast, rhythm,  
etc. to a web site, making it look great, but that may convey a  
message that the site's appearance is more more important than its  
substance, just as a businesswoman might feel emphasizing her sex- 
appeal could overshadow her performance.

Certainly, if I were doing an advertising web site, I'd want a  
quality design, but this is informational. What would a graphic  
artist do for a factual web site? For example, what would one change  
about the obsolete APRS VM site?

http://www.aprs.net/vm

That is a simple 20-odd item table of contents, certain ugly as  
defined in the article. I laid that out a decade ago, I might  
organize the information differently today, but I still hold that is  
a functional page. Its intended audience is technical, people that  
want to be able to find and assimilate the information easily, and  
they can.

On the other hand, in my opinion, Bob's web site

http://eng.usna.navy.mil/~bruninga/aprs.html

is in need of a graphic artist, but to undo the "design" that has  
been applied to the page, for example dark blue text on light blue  
background, centering throughout, and annoying animated GIFs at the  
top of the page. IMNSHO, it also needs to be broken into a number of  
sub-pages to make it easier to access the information. (Sorry Bob,  
nothing personal, but I needed an example!)

I learned my lesson in the 80's. Many of you probably knew a Mac user  
then, you remember, we were those annoying ones that sent letters  
with 10 different fonts. We did it because we thought it was cool, no  
one else could do it. It only took me a year or two to realize that  
all those fonts got in the way of my content. By the time I was was  
writing for the web, I was used to have a lot of flashy, cool stuff  
at my fingertips and not using it!

I am convinced bad design interferes with information transfer, I  
suspect you would agree with that. I'm not convinced that, when  
compared to a spartan design, a professional design enhances  
information transfer, at least enough to justify the expense. I am  
listening if you want to convince me...

Steve K4HG




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