Sunday 31 August 2008

Flashback Post: Web Design and Development Personality Indicators

From 2005, for your amusement.

(original post here: Web Design and Development personality indicators)


I’VE HAD ENOUGH! Frustrated with the range of attitudes and opinions I deal with as a standards-oriented educator, I’ve decided to begin a project (very) loosely based on the Meyers-Briggs personality indicators. So, dear readers, I’m hoping you’ll help me add and refine my categories, but I’m off to a start with the following:

  • OFAD. Old Fart Anti-Design. These are the guys (and I mean guys) that were on the Web as early as 1991. Almost all physicists at major research institutions, they’re the ones who helped Tim Berners-Lee refine the Web and were the first adopters. Mostly long in the tooth now, some are still kicking and they can be described as the anti-designers. These aren’t even purists – today’s approaches seem foreign and sometimes frightening to them. They long for the days of Lynx, really, but barring glowing text on a terminal and HTML authored in Vi or Emacs, their idea of Web design is default gray backgrounds, default text, maybe a list, and the apex of old fart visual design: a horizontal rule. Fortunately, this is a very rare breed and usually they can be ignored because unless they’ve progressed somewhat, they have precious little to offer the contemporary, standards-oriented Web designer or developer.
  • OSVD. Old Skool Visual Designer. These are the folks that refuse to see beyond their nested-tables-spacer-GIF design. In fact, you can find them at a variety of ad agencies and teaching at conferences all over the world, still excited when they create a design in Photoshop and use the so-called HTML export utility. These designers are often extremely hostile toward standardistas largely because the idea of change or looking at code is so traumatic that they hold on to the Old Skool methodology as if it were a lifeboat on a stormy sea. Unfortunately, this breed isn’t rare enough.
  • TTLM. Trying To Learn More. In this category are the good men and women who might still be serving it up Old Skool but are open to learning, open to growth yet struggling with standards related concepts and the snakepit of browser challenges of contemporary Web design and development. These brave souls are not in the majority, but they are to be lauded and assisted for their willingness to venture forth and expand their horizons.
  • SAVD. Standards Aware Visual Designer. These people are designing with standards in mind – creating beautiful sites for the screen, working toward achieving accessible sites, examining usability and human factors, and very possibly beginning or already designing for alternative devices and media types. A very rare breed, and if you are reading this post it’s very highly likely you’re either one your own fine self, know all their names or have Zeldman’s personal phone number memorized.
  • SASS. Standards Aware Structural Semanticist. These personalities are very code-centric, with little interest (or more often, skill) in presentation but lots of interest in the proper structuring of documents, use of meaningful markup, microformats, Semantic Web and the like. At their most compulsive, they can become purists to the point of having unrealistic expectations of the more worldly Web worker. Also a rare breed, SASS personalities are extremely important to the good of the Web but sometimes need to be reminded that smart structure and semantics can happily co-exist with visual design.
  • SACE. Standards Aware Cutting Edge. Whether visual designers or code-centric or both, these are the folks that design first for Firefox, Safari and Opera and work around IE 6.0 only because they have to. Given their druthers, sites would be built using practically no markup and lots of attribute selectors, just because they like the idea. A rare breed worth watching, but also in need of reminders that the rest of the world just ain’t there yet, and in fact, really are lagging behind.

Hybrids are not unusual, either. I sort of live between the SASS and the SAVD personalities, with not enough real design skill to execute great visual designs, but enough savvy to appreciate beautiful, standards-based Web sites. There’s probably a personality type for people like me, but it’s very difficult to assess my own character, so I’ll leave it there for now.

As I’m typing this, I’m on a ship in the Eastern Caribbean teaching CSS on a Geek Cruise. The ship, the MS Zuiderdam, is just in the process of docking at Road Town, Tortola, in the British Virgin Isles. I’m sure you all feel really sorry for me right now.

It’s just past dawn and I’m up at the very top of the ship where there happens to be WiFi at the going rate of 40 cents USD per minute, so you’ll forgive me if I leave you now with the following questions: Are you one of these personality types, and if so, which? Do you have a personality type you’d like to add to my little list?

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 01:37 | Comments (31)

Tuesday 26 August 2008

When You Met Nick Drake

BY THE TIME I’d “met” Nick Drake he was already long dead.

I believe it was after the “Pink Moon” Volkswagen commercial that aired in the United States. It’s possible I’d heard him before but I’m pretty sure I’d remember.

I’ve been listening to Nick Drake now nearly 10 years. What about you?

When did you see/hear/learn about Nick Drake?

Perfection has no stopwatch.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 21:09 | Comments (32)

Saturday 23 August 2008

Web Standards is a Goal

Interview with me about Web standards and design at Design Interviews in which I mete out advice I should apply to myself (isn’t it easier to give it?)

“Embrace change, value life-long learning, allow your passions to show and if at any moment you are no longer having fun or gaining something personally important from doing this important work, step back for a bit and re-evaluate.”

There’s some other interesting material up on the growing site that is really useful for Web designers and developers, too.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 14:17 | Comments (24)

Thursday 21 August 2008

Web Typography: The Pain Will Persist

. . . unless existing and new open source font projects gain momentum and critical mass.

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Posted by:   Molly | 17:57 | Comments (25)

Tuesday 19 August 2008

Jewish Milestones Along my Way

So in the basement of the Ala Moana hotel, owned by Outrigger, there is a storefront where each morning 3 Jewish men daven.

It was a completely unexpected view of Orthodox Judaism in practice. I asked a hotel staff member and she told me that the Outrigger chain is owned, at least in significant part, by Jews. I’ve been to Honolulu SEVEN times and this is the first time I saw religious Judaism in Hawaii.

Then, on a shuttle bus at LAX from overseas back to mainland I met a young woman with a Hebrew saying and a star of David tattooed on her arm. Of course I had to ask. She was with her Mother and half sister, and said it was in honor and remembrance of her Jewish father, passed.

She told me she works at Trader Joe’s and gets asked the same question a lot. Many older women tell her, apparently, “your grandmother is rolling in her grave!” (That was my first thought, To Be Honest. ;))

I wonder sometimes what truth the “faith” I was born into holds for me. I know this: I love that Judaism has no mediator between the self and G-D. I also love the idea that G-D does indeed watch my every step.

Travel. Live. Talk to people. It doesn’t make you smarter, just more aware of milestones along the wayl

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 01:45 | Comments (18)

Friday 15 August 2008

The Frightening Reality of Who You Are

I will never understand why people think I’m “Too Intense.”

What’s that about?

I live and walk through this world, and there are two responses always:

1). Go Away
2) Talk to ME!

I have this thing where I want to be hospitable to everyone

And yes, I prefer talking to real people. I always learn something that I hope makes me a better person.

Including the frightening reality of who you are, whoever you are.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 05:02 | Comments (37)

Saturday 2 August 2008

What You Wanted but Never Got

I wanted but never got a dirtbike, erector set, real football/soccer ball, a Gibson Hollow Body, a motorcycle, a skateboard, a trumpet.


Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 13:52 | Comments (46)

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