The trouble with graphics

In an article in yesterday’s observer, John Naughton described the internet as ‘The Library of Alexandria on steroids’. Few would argue with his description. However, he also pointed out that there are some problems with the shelving in the library – sometimes it is liable to collapse under the weight of its own ornamentation. From 2003 – 2011, the average size of a web page has grown from 93.7Kb to 679 KB with advances in graphic web design. Pager are more friendly to the user than ever before, but they are also hungrier on bandwidth than they have ever been.

The issue is not just about style versus content, either. Since the biggest moral issue associated with the internet may is the gulf between info-rich and info-poor, these pixel hungry pages may well remain un-usable for many in poorer parts of the world with thinner bandwidth.

At this point, John Naughton direcrs the reader to the personal web-page of Peter Norvig, Google’s Director of research. Looking at the web-page below, it is hard to believe that this has come from a man who resides in the Googleplex, with its slides, playrooms and quirky work pods. The content may be great, but do you feel like looking at it?

Click to access norvig.com

I have spent a lot of time over the past few weeks working with a graphic designer as we have prepared the final stages of our new ‘brand’. In that time I have come to appreciate that great design speaks a language all of its own. Image, font and colour may be read by the mind as readily as words.

This means that web design does matter every bit as much as web content – but so does accessibility. Discuss

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