Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Design Maturation

Recently, for the want of a designer on the team it fell on me to create a simple web interface. Being that my direct programming and UI design experience is at least ten years old it was a pretty daunting task.

While I was able to get something stood up that worked functionally, the aesthetics were primitive at best. It was akin to watching a black and white movie from the 40s when the world had moved on to The Matrix. This article on baby steps towards bringing a mature design sensibility to mobile, handheld devices speaks to my own experience.

Movies looked very much like filmed stage plays in their first decade of life. Similarly, television worked much like visual radio in its inaugural decade. And the World Wide Web – the desktop version, where typography and layout bear at least some resemblance to the intention of designers – went to great lengths in its early years to imitate the values of printed matter.

Eventually, all media will leave behind these chameleon-like baby steps and assume their own dynamic; they each establish a nature of their own that is separate and apart from their predecessors. In the case of the Web, we are still in the midst of this evolution now; over time we have become more comfortable with it as a form of communication unlike any other – even as it continues to change with greater rapidity and turbulence than anything we’ve seen in the past.

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