Web Design Vs. Print Design: A Review

Fifteen years ago, there were no web designers. The very first web designers in the early days of the web were “traditional” graphic designers that migrated their skills from print to the new media. So a lot of web design today is influenced by print design philosophies.

However, it’s easy to take from granted the differences between print and the web for the designer. Here are some of the key differences revisited:

  1. The Web is Dynamic – the key difference between the two media is that designing for the web means designing for content that will change based on the reader’s interaction. Printed content and design, obviously, will stay the same for eternity.
  2. Authoring is different – Making web pages can literally be done on notepad for the HTML, CSS, and Javascript stuff. But there are key tools available from image editors (Adobe Photoshop/Fireworks, Mic), editors (Adobe Dreamweaver), and even rich media (Flash) that give the web its interactivity. Print folks have Adobe InDesign, and even Microsoft Word. Also, designing for print operates better in a WYSIWYG environment.
  3. As far as standards go, the web has a long way to go – From the browsers, to the mark-up standards, and design standards the web is a mish-mash compared to print. If I ask you what the standard for rich media on the web, you’ll probably say “Flash,” but open web standards advocates will point to something else.

As web design matures and print media finds a way to arrest its steady decline, designers will probably dabble on the media more often. Appreciating the difference between the two media could probably go a long way.

4th Mini Web Design Conference

The Philippine Web Designer’s Organization (PWDO) will be holding the fourth (yeah, it’s already the fourth!) iteration of the <form> + function() & .class Mini Web Design Conference this coming March 18, 2009, 8pm at the G2VC Bar in the Orient Square, Pasig City. (If you’re not familiar with the place, you can check out the map).

Here’s the list of speakers for that day:

Web Accessibility with Assistive Technology
Rene Orense
Project Officer, Web Developer
http://www.atriev.org.ph

Finding Your Soul Mate!
Luis Buenaventura
Software Architect
http://syndeolabs.com

Top 5 Internet Marketing Mistakes Companies Make
Regnard Raquedan
Consultant
http://www.raquedan.com

Branding and Design
Elymar Apao
USAP Philippines
http://www.jozzua.com

Web Standards (specifics to be announced)
Aja Lorenzo Lapus
Student at University of Santo Tomas
http://www.ajalapus.com/

Leveling Up Your Photoshop Skillz
Marco Palinar
http://site-guy.com

Javascript/AJAX/DOM
Ta Tuy Duc
http://acc.vn

We also have to thank the sponsors for the event:

Ely Apao
http://www.jozzua.com/

Marc Villanueva
Sheero Media Solutions
http://sheeromedia.com/

I’ll also be raffling off a Web Development book,courtesy of AUGPhil.

If you’re interested in attending, you can sign up using the online registration form.

See you there!

3rd Mini Web Design Conference Afterthoughts

The Philippine Web Designers’ Organization (PWDO) had its third Mini Web Design Conference last January 22 and it was a great session with nice topics and a packed house.

Since a couple of speakers were not able to arrive, I was asked to speak 30 minutes before my slot. Good thing I already had a topic in mind as I contemplated in being a speaker for this session (I figured I’d reserve my talk for the 4th Mini Web Design Conference since the speaker roster was already full).

I whipped up a presentation quickly and pulled a few images from Getty Images. My talk was entitled “Pricing Your Web Design Work,” and it was primarily an overiew of pricing strategies for freelance we designers. I spent my 15 minutes of air time optimally, with a few interesting questions from the audience after. Based on the the queries, I think some people picked up a couple of nuggets of information from my talk (wishful thinking on my part really :P)

The talks during the event were:

We also raffled off nice tokes from our sponsors:Philippine Web Accessibility Group,MunchPunchandEdsa Hosting.

One of the revelations for the event was the venue, the Cosmopoint International Institute of Technology (CIIT). It’s a new school launched last year and they specialize in digital arts and media, animation and information technology. Their facilities were top notch and the place was very well-maintained. I think it’s a shame that the facilities are not maximized given their enrollment rate.

After the event, the PWDO had a planning session for the BIG <form> + function() & .class Web Design Conference. A few updates on the event: The event will be held on July 10, 2009 (Friday) and the venue has been confirmed at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City.

I’ll keep everyone posted with updates on this major event. 😀

Raquedan.com Redesign

Even though I was running a slight fever, I took the day off to whip up a quick redesign of my home page at Raquedan.com.I’ve alwas intended the site to be my sandbox for new web development techniques and experimentation in design but this new version of thesite marks a maturation of sorts in my design sensibilities.

I finally implemented most of the usability and web standards stuff that I’ve been advocating these past few years. If you look at the old versions of my home page (version 1 and version 2), you will notice that I put a premium on “The Concept,” the thing that spurred me for that particular design. But the new one I just did is a lot more subdued and understated. Simplicity was my concept here.

I also did that page in less than a day (design & development included) and pure hand-coding on my text editor (I think I would have finished this a lot faster in Dreamweaver), thanks to CSS and XHTML. The site is so simple that it passes all the validators you can think of (well, that’s an exaggeration :P) but more than that, I’m glad it passes my personal standards.

The 2008 Philippine Web Awards: How can You help?

I just got my invite to be one of the judges of the 2008 Philippine Web Awards in my inbox today and this would be my eighth tour of duty with the Philippines’ first major award-giving body for web sites. Eight years is eight years, but I always feel honored whenever MediaG8way, the organizers of the awards, considers me to judge and I always feel excited during the awards night.

As much as the Philippine Web Awards has helped the industry by recognizing the Filipino talent and ingenuity, it has its share of controveries. Last year, there was a disqualification in the Arts and Portfolio category due to site unoriginality. Allegations of politicking in the awards selection and sourgraping from the non-winners happen every year. Not even the community-embraced and driven Philippine Blog Awards is spared from this. I guess the common thing about awards in the Philippines is that it will always be hounded by controversy no matter what.

So, the question we, especially those in the Philippine Web/IT industry, should ask ourselves is “How can I help the industry?” or “How can I be a part of the solution?” The Web has evolved to a point where you nd me can be heard and help make incremental improvements in almost everything.

I’ll start: My suggestion is to recognize the people behind the websites that win the awards. Why? Because the web is becoming more and more “alive” and social by the day and there should be a way to champion the human spirit behind the great works.

Feel free to chime in with your suggestion. 🙂

Working with Drupal

I’m doing my MBA internship here in Infosys in Bangalore, India and my 2-month project here involved architecting and building a throw-away prototype of a system to be developed in the future. I was tempted to develop it from scratch using some PHP framework (like CakePHP or CodeIgniter) but I decided to create it with Drupal, after sifting through several resources and reviews. I took some time to evaluate if Drupal could create what I wanted to achieve based on requirements documents and while I wasn’t yet 100% sure of the fit, I went ahead with Drupal in the interest of saving time. (Yes, I have a tight deadline).

So far, I’ve been living off modules developed by the Drupal community for version 6 and I would say that 60% fo the functionality I need is already out there, with minimal customization. My strategy so far has been “DBA”– Don’t Build Anything— meaning I’m trying to avoid writing code and always look for some module that approximates what I need. This is the really the first time I appreciated the open source community effort for its effect on my actual work. (I’m not counting the WordPress community becuase I’ve used it primarily for personal purposes.) I also saw this class site from the Univesity of Michigan on Drupal that is extremely helpful– with slides and screencasts to boot!

I’m also at that point that I’ve exhausted the available modules out there and I may start to hack and write code for a Drupal module. My issues really stem from altering the workflow of the base package by adding layers and layers of moderation and review. (I absolutely welcome any suggestion in going about writing a workflow module.) My only nitpick about Drupal is its rather unique user interface– too unique that it takes a lot of getting used to and for some reason, my installation in my test server is terribly sluggish.

I personally am optimistic that I’ll achieve 100% of the funtionality that I need and if there’s anyone out there who can give nice resources for Drupal, I’d be very thankful. 🙂

Adobe Flash: Web 2.0’s Pariah?

Flash

Flickr, Digg, Del.icio.us, Bloglines, MySpace, Wikipedia, Technorati and YouTube.

That list probably accounts for a good deal of all the traffic going on as I write this but only one of them uses Adobe Flash.

Is Web 2.0 Flash averse?

It may be so, but why the Flash-phobia?

I was spurred by James Ward‘s post on the Fear of Flash. His observations on the misconceptions are spot on. Here’s a sample:

Indisputably, the power of Flash has been abused. Pop-ups, pop-overs, skip intros and annoying ads run rampant across our screens. Ive heard it said that one should never judge a religion by its abuse. The same adage applies to technology.

I’ve posted my observations before when I compared Flash to AJAX and I did note how some sites left a bad taste in the public’s mouth.

Adobe responded to the Web 2.0 phenomenon by coming up with Apollo and the Flex-AJAX Bridge. Still, Flash adoption on Web2.0 sites remain low. Here are the factors I’m seeing:

  • People realized Flash was overkill when it comes to coming up with personal sites
  • Javascript took to a whole new level with AJAX
  • Web Standards came about
  • From a user experience standpoint, people have come to a certain expectation of how to interact with the web, therefore were turned off by websites with unconventional navigation and intereaction

That list can go on further, but I think main point is Flash been set aside because there are tools to get the job done. Perhaps we will se Flex getting more attention, but I think we need to see a killer Flex/Flash app first.