Is there hope for those of us with no style?

I make no attempt to hide it…I can barely dress myself in the morning. I just give thanks that my roommate, who also happens to be my much trendier younger sister, leaves for work 2.5 hours before me and isn’t around to harass me about what I’ve put on when I walk out of my room in the morning. I have no style…”preppy” is easy to shop for, so that’s how I classify myself (note…I may have no style, but I have very little difficulty spending the money shopping for clothes…funny how that works.) So after reading all the material this week on color choices, typography, placement, etc on websites, and how these elements can “make or break” your site, is there any hope for the stylistically impaired when it comes to web design?

Both Norman and Wroblewski’s comments back up the frightening Fogg evaluation for Consumer Reports, that “the average consumer paid far more attention to the superficial aspects of a site, such as visual cues, then to its content.” It’s scary how easily consumers can fall for the information on a less then credible site, based on how the site looks. No doubt a web designer has to keep the visual elements in mind when lying out a website, but even at that, no design will please everyone. At what point do you accept that your sites design is good enough, and leave the rest in the hands of the consumer, who you hope will have enough common sense to evaluate a the merit of the material you’ve presented? Is there any hope the stylistically impaired can create sites with huge academic impact?

Many Museums as of late find themselves walking the fine line between education and entertainment. The mission of the museum is, essentially, to educate. Entertainment is what attracts many visitors these days though. I thought about this conflict as I read through the articles for this week. How many historians creating websites run into the problem of crossing the line from education to entertainment to attract folks to their sites? Will there come a time when design becomes a hindrance to history on the web?

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Is there hope for those of us with no style?

  1. SaS

    I love your last question: “Will there come a time when design becomes a hindrance to history on the web?”

    It seems to me that time is rapidly approaching. I know we live in a visual age and I am just as visually-oriented as the next person, but I am also first and foremost an academic. Thus, I want the content to speak for me and my research, not the presentation. And I know I cannot get away from the appearance, especially in such a visually-driven media as the Net, but wouldn’t making the site “servicable” in visual terms be good enough?

    I guess the question I would ask is whether people come to historical websites for the content or for the presentation, and if its the latter, I think we are in trouble. Now, if the site is ugly and hard to use, that is one thing, but if the site is well done and at least average-looking (although I am not sure what that actually means), can’t that suffice?

  2. Amen to that. I’ve been working on my type assignement, focusing mostly on how it looks. Almost got to positing when I realized I hadn’t spell checked anything. I’ve been so obsessed with how it looks that I’m not concerned withthe basics.

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