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Veen: “when Web design is practiced as

Veen: “when Web design is practiced as a craft, accessibility comes for free”.

Reader comments

CheshireMar 18, 2004 at 5:51PM

Wow, I didn't expect that little manifesto to piss me off as much as it did, but it did. Is "Veen" short for "vent your spleen"? 'Cause that's what it made me do.

steveMar 18, 2004 at 11:35PM

yeah, cheshire, you sure did spout off. i think you kind of missed the point and the bigger picture, actually...

CheshireMar 19, 2004 at 4:00AM

Perhaps. I think I've gotten the point repeatedly from the standards folks -- that CSS has the potential to address a wide variety of users by virtue of the flexibility of any one of multiple stylesheets applied to a single page of content. Got it, love the concept. But actually learning not only the code but also the extraordinarily unintuitive hacks necessary to trick various browsers into doing what they're supposed to is quite difficult, and it favors people who are more geared toward programming. Books and websites on the topic are almost uniformly unreadable to anyone but someone with heavy programming experience. I'm fortunate to have a penpal I can write to who can examine my code and see what I'm doing wrong as I learn the vagaries of the box model, but I never needed this level of handholding before. I don't want a bunch of tutorials telling me, step by step, how to do the latest cool thing; what's needed is a resource to explain why the simplest things sometimes don't work. What's most egregious is that Veen's sites don't even work properly in Mac IE 5.1, a flawed browser to be sure but one that a whole lot of people use.

Veen's statement that he doesn't have patience for designers coming from other mediums is quite instructive. There are really only a few CSS-based sites that look good to me at all and don't break in one browser or another. Even CSS Zen Garden, which has a few very attractive stylesheets in there, has a ton of garbage on it. Literally, 2,000 pounds of garbage CSS that breaks if you so much as look at it the wrong way. When talented designers are convinced that CSS is the way to go, and the resources are there to help them climb that very steep hill, then the demand for CSS will take off. Telling designers that typography doesn't matter and images are merely superfluous is probably not the best method to achieve that. Yes, I know he's exaggerating to some degree, but not by a whole lot.

OK, I really have to let this go. I should be happy: I conquered a JavaScript problem tonight. But instead I got riled up all over again. Sorry about that.

JojoMar 19, 2004 at 9:48PM

Chesire Wrote:
Telling designers that typography doesn't matter and images are merely superfluous is probably not the best method to achieve that.

Come to think of it, isn't that what lynda et. al. were telling us back in the early and mid 90s? That, and how to make pages lightweight?

Then in the double oughts, folks were telling us how CSS and XHTML would save us from those days of pixelated fonts and lossy images AND keep pages in the flyweight fighting class, even though in the late 90s everyone was building heavyweight swf & image-laden pages 'cause everyone was getting high on the fat cable pipe.

Sounds like the old "I'm a panel-speaker, and I need to say something that will create attention and discussion around an issue about which nothing I say hasn't already been said but I'll do it in a snarky way to start that discussion anyway." Guess it worked, 'cause here I am ;-)

[grandpa speak]
Used to be, back in my day, it took a decade or two for things old to become new again. They called it "retro". We wore an onion on our belt, which was the style at the time...
[/grandpa speak]

BrianMar 19, 2004 at 11:07PM

Now I really, really want a chrome onion belt buckle...

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.