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John Naughton says my website "would make a graphic designer reach for a sickbay" -- but in a good way.
Designers have turned webpages from simple sources of information into bloated showcases
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I call it "a wall of noise". A big reason why I usually prefer the iPhone app over the website, the app gets to the point.
I think he's missing the point, though. Aesthetics and content is not a XOR proposition. Aesthetics must improve the way in which the content is used and/or make you more willing to engage with such content. Furthermore, nowadays, the amount of kB is much less important than a few years ago (obviously, within reasonable limits).
Graphics designers aren't all bad. If you've ever been to a Japanese website, you'd see how bad it can really get. Wall of text, icons, and ads. Half of which are scrolling, flashing, or both.
I've seen better examples of design than your page, Peter, but that's a stylistic difference. It doesn't make me reach for the sick bag.

Good designers are concerned with the effective presentation of content - it should make it easier for the reader/viewer to absorb the information. That does not require bloat, or clutter.

The sort of thing he complains about would make me reach for the sickbag, because it's bad design. Blaming designers for the problem points the finger at the wrong target.

While minimalism is all very well, sometimes a web page should look like a magazine page to present the content it showcases.
+Peter Norvig , while your website definitely presents plenty of information, and has absolutely no design aspects to it (as far as I can tell not a single css style is used), it's just information overload. As +Miguel Angel said, it's not either or with design and usability - it's striking a balance. I feel like there is no balance here - I don't mean to be harsh (although I am sure you can take the criticism), but it's much more impressive to me to see a well developed website that looks great and loads quickly. And if you really want to get speed over design, drop the tables. They are adding bulk and complexity; tables are meant for tabular data and not design. I feel this way about craigslist as well - I don't understand why they don't make their site more appealing. It feels like it's stayed successful despite, and not because of, the lack of design. Just my two cents.
+Tom Brooks +Peter Norvig I say the most feng shui (if you will) you can get a website the better, more information in a slick presentation, ergo not a bunch of pictures or flash objects to load and render. A good example is wikipedia or even google's homepage. While Bing is a giant picture for it's homepage that runs nearly a megabyte on its own. Tom has a point though, it's a simple matter of stimulation verses chaotic turnoff, we want to see boldly colored uncluttered sites, also we enjoy slightly rounded edges and shading or bold contrast on images. For instance the Google+ Pages "Create a Page" image on the side of my feed looks awful, non complimentary colors and no shading or bold lines whatsoever. It makes me NOT want to click on it since it's so unattractive visually.
+Peter Norvig "John Naughton says my website "would make a graphic designer reach for a sickbay" -- but in a good way." - That is exactly what happens when you maximise information per message length ((C)Shannon). Just a choice of a cost function.
To the people hating on Norvig's site, please remember that every moment he spends prettying it up is a moment he didn't spend building self-driving cars... which will take our jobs, then develop a taste for human flesh.

Come to think of it, sir, you really should devote a few years to prettying up that website. Meanwhile, I'll be stockpiling weapons and canned tuna.
+Bryce Anderson Well, wishing to keep Norvig busy with website is hardly a solution, not even a delay, considering he is not alone in that business. We just need to realise that the stuff we develop is putting evolutionary pressure back on us. If we want to survive we have to make right choices and avoid all the traps. I am optimistic we will. Now, could dinosaurs get saved by canned tuna?
Form over function is a battle that is raging for a long time. Aesthetics should be non intrusive and each website or data store should have an mechanism to provide minimalistic data, for clients who need them.
I see Naughton's point(s) about the evils of bloated webpages, but his underlying premise -- graphic designers are at fault -- is misleading, at best.

Of those 300+ referrers he saw whizzing through his status bar (at the +Daily Mail site), I'd bet 95% had little or no connection with 'design' in the sense of layout and construction. Rather, they are all about money: strategic partnerships, advertising affiliates, social graphication, eyeball tracking, etc. In other words, we're talking about the assorted JS shenanigans called-for by those 'sharp pencil' types up in the executive suite...not graphic designers, surely. In fact, I'm confident in saying designers abhor that stuff, finding it anathema to their finer sensibilities.
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