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Losing my standards religion

posted by DL Byron on June 15, 2006

Every-time I happen upon a MySpace page, my standards faith is shaken. It starts with a “what the fuck is this,” then a cold realization that when consumers want to show off their coolest self, they don’t care about how that self is coded. They just want to upload everything they can and put it all over a web page.

So what does MySpace say to the standards and design community? Fuck you and your XHTML.

In Web 2.0, and social networking, and whatever flava-of-the-month we call it, all that was is again and we full-circle right on back to the look-at-me-and-my-flaming-logo GeoCities homepages.

Even though I was less vocal during the authoring of the book, we wrote about standards at length, the history of WaSP, why standards are imperative for businesses, and how Microformats could be a game changer. I sure hope that effort wasn’t for nothing and when those drunk on Web 2.0, wake up all blurry-eyed, head pounding like a bad cocaine hangover from the 80s, we’ll all remember our Web values and faith will be restored.

Until then, I feel a bit lost. Riding my bike helps.

Comments (9)
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Jun 15  |  meryl said:

Whew. Why get angry at myspace? After all, a lot of users are kids like my daughter who don’t know spit of HTML and just grab things to enhance their pages such like adding objects to a template. Heck, I tried to convince her to make some changes for the better, but what do you think she did? Ignored me. There’s a big difference between Web sites and social networking pages like myspace.

I believe our (standards supporters) energies are best used when we work to influence organizations and developers of software and Web-based tools to adopt Web standards.

Jun 15  |  rodney said:

Keep the faith, baby!

Jun 15  |  eric said:

hey chill out, its not like it matters anyway since the net neutality bills were rejected

Jun 15  |  -b- said:

I regret the post sounded angry, probably the use of f-bombs. Meryl, good points and I can see the zen of it, but at a higher level, there’s a massively popular community pumping out page after page of crap.

Regardless if girls just wanna have fun, ok, cool, I really wanted to download the Ditty Bops’ video, but could get to it on their page and was like, geez, how little progress we’ve made.

Jun 15  |  erika said:

i thought your post was hilarious, partly due to the f-bombs. the net was definitely an arena of bad taste in the 90s thanks to sites like GeoCities and Angelfire* when kids realised they could effortlessly post webpages. (i went off on a tangent on this during an essay, which i later cut out, and wanted to demonstrate it by how utterly terrible GeoCities’ templates look, and how poor its editor is.) MySpace consists of many ages and many types of people, and unfortunately most do not know an ounce of HTML, it is agreed. i didn’t do a whole lot to mine (www.myspace.com/erasethered), but at least i kept it tasteful without 1000 images and things stretching the page horizontally (god i hate that). then again, i’m one of the very few with a design education so i know what bad design looks like. it may even be fun to force one’s users to have to highlight text in order to read it, but that’s readability issues 101. i don’t think we can blame the users for creating horrors on the web, but they themselves probably care little and do not know the crimes they’ve committed. myspace itself… well… they are constantly plagued with programming issues so they’re a lesson learned in amateurnesh. i mean, amateurism. *Angelfire’s free sites are now splashed to the max with advertisements, and even if you select to have them only in pop-ups or only on the page, it’ll do both. ruins the page entirely…

Jun 15  |  erika said:

P.S. just found this on Lana’s blog at cfox.com (Vancouver radio station) “If you aren’t on myspace yet, you need to suit yourself up with a sweet ass profile. Myspace is the new technology. Forget websites, forget downloads. www.myspace.com Every ‘industry’ person I talk to checks out myspace for talent. In fact, some new bands don’t even have their own damn sites - they just refer people to their myspace sites.” *shudder* i can tell you they’re not checking it out for design talent.

Jun 15  |  meryl said:

Now, that’s a scary thought, Erica. I have a page on myspace, but I haven’t bothered to do anything with it. You’re right about bands — some even get their own domain name and redirect it to their myspace page.

Even my own daughter’s page gives me a headache. The bright colors, the images all over the screen, the music starting without my permission, and the flashy blinky animation garbage. If I need to check with her page, I copy and paste the content to get rid of the blinding colors. Sure, I’ve tried using the CSS tool to change it — but it took too much time. That’s how bad it is.

When she chats with her friends (and me, too) — she uses horrendous color combinations and background colors. I feel like she’s screaming at me in living color. I remember being a kid — but I can’t picture myself using these gosh awful font styles.

Got off track here. Remember the BBS days had kiddie BBSes that weren’t up 24-hours and full of cussing? That stuff will always exist online in some shape or form. Today, that form is on social networking sites with more emphasis on social and less on business.

Jun 16  |  erika said:

Meryl — indeed it is. ugh, those bands will be the death of my wish to design band sites!

i remember bright, poisonous colours from AOL Instant Messenger before i switched to iChat. most people were reasonable, but i remember one friend pasting in a conversation with someone whose choice was yellow on white. my friend said, “oww, my retinas!”

the worst thing is TyPiNG LiKe ThIs. whoever thought that was cool? even worse is when they’re in a fluorescent rainbow. honestly, readability is not something kids think about when they’re having too much fun with the font and colour palette. i can say more about language and abbreviations but i won’t.

i think i omitted the part of my essay where i commented on bright pink 48pt Arial on a black background, centered. only for the brave…

BBS. ah yes. i almost never have to censor anything as a moderator at my school’s design forum. by post-secondary, the educated are well-mannered.

by the way, i do rather admire your new design under development for your website; it’s quite an improvement over the existing one.

Jun 18  |  Mathew said:

Mike D has a tasteful hack out there to make those god awful pages a little less annoying. I used it on my totally worthless page.

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