The rules of design are important to website design as with any other thing that is designed. With these rules you can create web pages that are put together in an effective and aesthetic way. If you learn the rules of design, you’ll have web pages that look good and work towards their goals in a clear and effective way.
We get better results when we understand our target audience. Yet even at this late hour, many people don’t understand the concept of website design. Among them can be found some of our most well-known business and cultural leaders, including a few who possess a profound grasp of design—except as it relates to the web.
Some who don’t understand the rules of web design nevertheless have the job of making websites or managing web designers and developers. Others who don’t understand web design are nevertheless professionally in charge of evaluating it on behalf of the rest of us. Those who understand the least make the most noise. They are the ones leading charges, slamming doors, and throwing money, all at the wrong people and things.
It’s hard to understand web design when you don’t understand the web. And it’s hard to understand the web when those who are paid to explain it either don’t get it themselves, or are obliged for commercial reasons to smother some of what they know, emphasizing the circus act over the brilliant.
People who are smart about print can be less bright about website development. Their critical faculties, honed to perfection during the Kerning Wars, smash to bits against the barricades of our profession.
The less sophisticated lament on our behalf that we are stuck with ugly fonts. They wonder how we can enjoy working in a medium that offers us less than absolute control over every atom of the visual experience. What they are secretly asking is whether or not we are real website designers. (They suspect that we are not.) But these are the juniors, website design students and future critics. Their opinions are chiefly of interest to their professors, and one prays they have good ones.
More sophisticated critics understand that the web is not print and that limitations are part of every design concept. Yet even these eggheads will sometimes surrender to erroneous comparatives. Where are the masterpieces of website designing, these critics cry. That Google Maps might be as representative of our age but might not satisfy the design critic in search of a direct parallel to.