A Rethink on Web Design

I’ve never consciously thought much about web design and its aesthetics. But I certainly have unconsciously. Going to a website, especially one designed around history, I immediately recognize good web design and bad web design. I often weighed this in how much creditability I gave to the information presented. Often this is an appropriate sorting mechanism. Amateur historians with political agendas or who see the “facts” only as they want to see them often have poorly designed and presented websites. But now I need to perhaps rethink this strategy.

Cohen and Rosenzweig write that many websites, especially dealing with the humanities, often are created by those who have good scholarship but lack technical ability or money/time to create an outstanding site. Having dipped my toe in the digital waters I can now understand how this happens. I use to think that anyone could put up a website and make it respectable looking. Researching what all goes in to creating a site and the myriad of things available to the web designer (and how confusing it can get) I know that the next time I am researching and come across a site that is somewhat amateur looking, I will delve deeper into its content before I dismiss it.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “A Rethink on Web Design

  1. I think it’s really important that you’ve raised the point as to how the way information is presented on the web via design can weigh on its credibility. You highlighted a part of the reading that I didn’t fully absorb, and I’m glad now I’ve had a chance to rethink it. You’re right that even if we don’t have “official” knowledge about web design, we as users are already literate in it to some degree, i.e. can read it, and base our conceptions of a page’s content on that literacy. As you’ve also pointed out, our own learning in this course may help us begin to separate the value of content from what might be flawed design, and to more critically evaluate why a design might be flawed outside of its usability.

  2. I am reminded of the admonition to never judge a book by its cover. Maybe we need to update this advice to never judge web content by the homepage?

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