Old School Web Design
Quite often I forget about old-school web design. I just don’t remember there being anything prior to XHTML, CSS and semantic design principals. These things are now synonymous with ‘web design’ in my mind, the concepts and terms are interchangeable. It was therefore with some considerable shock and a very large helping of disgust that earlier in the week I made a re-acquaintance with Old School Web Design.
My boss was unhappy with how a project was progressing and asked me to have a look at it. The project was something we had been working on a month or so ago, my role being to modify the existing visual design and then create static XHTML and CSS documents from the artwork. This resulting webpages were then handed over to an external studio who were to implement dynamic features and a shopping cart system, basically bestowing interactivity on the project.
It got even worse when we moved onto the shopping cart system itself. Inside my XHTML strict they had inserted three nested tables, each one using old-school presentation tags and thus completely breaking the page validation. The code was an absolute mess and would be very hard to edit and make presentable. Worse still the actual output of the code was ugly as sin. ASCII art decoration around invalid font tags, no attempt to blend the visual style with the rest of the site, and completely ignoring and over-riding established styles already provided by my CSS. Broken layouts due to their forced width tables.
I almost felt sick. I certainly felt angry. My boss was less than impressed too.
The result of all this? I have a renewed appreciation for modern design technique, a renewed hatred of Old School design, and a compelling urge to read up on-line credit card transactions, so we never have to farm out again.