dalliard.net

Car-crash web design.

There are many web-sites out there that I struggle to grasp the point of.

- Those which are tediously unusable.
- Those which look nasty.
- Those which just you can't understand how they make money.

And then there's MySpace, which has all of these - and more.

The basic principle of MySpace is simple enough - give people a web-page and they can put a little bit of something up about themselves, manage a blog and announce their presence to the world. So why does it all go horribly wrong?

The answer is simple - it's nasty. MySpace fully embodies all the elements of awful web-site design, or put another way, if you give a baby a box of Crayola and some paper, you don't get the Mona Lisa.

There are some basic design constraints that everyone should adhere to when putting a web-site together - at least, if you want people to read it and not move on in ten seconds:

- It should be kept simple, so people know what they're doing.
- It should be kept legible - no garish low-contrast colour schemes.
- Finally, it should be kept compact, with easy navigation so people can get to where they want to be.

Now I know dalliard.net is not perfect, but it loosely adheres to these principles. There's buttons clearly at the top to go to other pages. There's links clearly at the bottom if you want to read old posts. The text on the page has contrast and I'm not distracting you with 25 slide shows, some nasty auto-playing R & B or tasteless video content. The page is not gargantuan and loads fairly quickly, even on a modem connection.

So, I'm going to make a bold statement. Here goes. I have not yet seen a single MySpace page that conforms to the basic sound principles on web-design. Hell, even celebrities can't get good pages made for them either. Take Pete Tong, Paris Hilton, Colin Murray and Jarvis Cocker as random examples - the links are barely visible against the background images, they're badly laid out, garish and at times I have to actually scroll the text out of the way of the images to be able to read it. White text rolling over a light background - smart!

This is why I would call MySpace a form of car-crash web-design - it's not remotely pleasant, but you can't help but have a look anyway. Then the music starts, after which you close your browser window - because it's bloody annoying.

Of course, the argument could be that the general public have no taste and don't understand what makes a page easy on the eye. This is true. However, if MySpace had any sense, they'd start you off with a reasonable theme that leaves little error for disaster. Unlike MySpace, Blogger seems to do this quite well.

Lastly....

"{insert name} has 25,128 friends".

What's all that about? You don't have that many friends. Nobody has that many. Liars, the lot of you.

On MySpace, there's a continual pissing-contest going on where people try to see how many "friends" they can get, like it's some form of compensation for their sad real-lives. Believe me, if I had that many friends, I wouldn't be spending time on MySpace. I'd be calling them up, talking to them, texting or e-mailing them, writing them a letter, having coffee/beer with them. In fact, I'd be spending as much time with my friends that won't involve a computer.

And I suggest that you do the same. The more communication methods we have, the less we say.

Some supporting articles if you feel like a read: One, Two, Three.
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