Embracing The Flow Of The Web

Author: Aaron Salazar
A few years ago I was introduced to John Allsopp’s article “A Dao of Web Design” by a great UX designer that was on my team at the time.  Since then I’ve read a few times and have forwarded it on to co-workers in an effort to spread its good word.  The CRAZIEST part of this article is that it was written in the year 2000, the veritable stone age of web development, yet its message of harmony is just as relevant today if not more so now that we have mobile to worry about.
I think this article can be summarized by just a few points.  I feel these points summarize adequately.  However, I encourage you to read the article because it is interesting to see how relevant it still is and to read through all the practical suggestions.

    • The Internet, a relatively new medium, is constrained by those who would have it function like printed media.
    • Web pages flow depending on the size of the screen, accessibility settings, browser type, OS, etc.  Embracing the flow of the web is essential
    • The goal is to build in adaptability into our web pages so that they can adapt to all possibilities or at least the most common possibilities.  Where our design fails to adapt, accept full adaptability as an aspiration.
    • Use HTML for scaffolding, use appropriate tags when available.  For example, use <em> instead of <i> which lets the user’s browser settings decide how to emphasize.
    • Use CSS for presentation.
    • Don’t rely on fonts and font sizes.  Larger and smaller should be sized using percentages and not absolute pixels.
  • Layout elements should use the “em” unit which is a unit that is relative to the current font size.

Instead of forcing our pages to look pixel perfect we should instead design for functionality and embrace the flow of the content.  In this way our pages will be more likely to just work on all browsers and platforms.
Author: Aaron Salazar