Daily Archives: January 5, 2014

Best Design Trends of 2013? Don’t You Mean Worst, VentureBeat?

Of course the doctor is going to to be attracted to an article that purports to chronicle the 10 best design trends of 2013, but after a quick read, the doctor wonders if the author meant to say the trends mentioned were the worst trends because, as far as the doctor is concerned, the list contains four (4) of the worst design trends of the year. (An editing snafu, maybe?)

In no particular order, these four (4) trends are among the worst that 2013 had to offer.

  1. Responsive Design
    There’s no such thing as responsive design, at least not from a programmer’s perspective. The idea behind responsive design is that a single interface is coded to adapt to the viewing environment by using fluid, proportion-based grids, flexible images, and CSS3 media queries. While this sounds great in theory, this is impossible in practice as what looks good on a 5″ mobile touchscreen won’t look good on a 27″ monitor, nor will you be able to fit the same amount of information. In other words, you will have to code the UI to minimize, replace, or drop components as the screen size decreases from whatever the normal viewing size is taken to be (which is probably still 1366 * 788, based upon January 2013 statistics) and to add more components, more options, or more images as the screen size increases from the normal viewing size. You will have to have different scaling rules for images for different screen sizes (as some images will have to not only scale proportionally, but scale in multiples to look good, and only to a pre-set minimum and/or maximum size), return different amounts of data depending on display capability (and, if you can get an idea thereof, processing power), and even adapt the color scheme to the display characteristics. For every component, you end up needing so many rules, to account for mobile screen sizes, tablet screen sizes, laptop screen sizes, desktop screen sizes, and large monitor sizes, that it would have been less code, and less confusion, to just code five different designs. The theory sounds good but the practicality is virtually non-existent.
  2. Delight in Animation
    Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. The analogy is just because you can down 3 bottles of free vino before you pass out, this doesn’t mean you should. Animations are not only processor-intensive (which is an issue for mobile devices with limited battery life), but they are also bandwidth intensive. Just because the carriers have the capacity, this doesn’t mean the individual does, especially if she’s on the go. Cellular provider data plans are expensive and the last thing we want to do is run up tens of dollars in overage charges for your stupid animation. And yes, many places offer free wi-fi, but usually only have a single low-end 54 MB router that can’t really handle the amount of traffic all of the freeloaders are trying to route through it. Give us a nice graphic if you must, but don’t waste our dollars on frivolous animations.
  3. Creative Typography Explosion
    Some of us like to be able to read what you write and don’t want to spend 30 seconds trying to figure out if the word is ‘moot’ or ‘nook’ because your fancy-smancy psuedo-cursive type-front is so quirky and blurry we can’t differentiate u’s from v’s, a’s from o’s, t’s from k’s, and p’s from q’s. There are a large number of good, old fashioned, type-fronts that have been around for decades for a reason. They work. Use them.
  4. Dashboards
    Everyone should know better than to get the doctor started on this topic. I don’t know how many times I’ve told you that dashboards are dangerous and dysfunctional (which is a message I’ve been shouting from the rooftops since 20007)! Austin got the message. Why Can’t You? (Why do you need to find out for yourself that integrated dashboards are deadly or that dashboards will be your downfall.) Needless to say, the doctor is not pleased by the explosion thereof!

Got any of your own bad design trends of 2013 to share? Leave a comment!