Bad websites ruin the internet, not “Graphic designers”

Martin Belam by Martin Belam, 19 February 2012

I had quite a rude awakening from Twitter on Sunday morning:

“@currybet how does the Guardian employ morons like this? Time to subscribe to the Mail I think... - http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/feb/19/john-naughton-webpage-obesity” - @jongold

The link was to this piece by John Naughton - “Graphic designers are ruining the web

It always seems a shame when someone commits something to print on a specialist subject without seeming to speak to any of the in-house expertise they may have access to. Our engaged and technically knowledgable audience soon took John’s views to task in the comments:

“I think this article’s title speaks volumes in terms of how out of touch you are with how web sites are designed, laid out and put together. Graphic designers?? Web designers, User Interface/User Experience Designers and Information Architects are all involved” - ParkerDigital
“I rarely comment on articles like this but wanted to chime in and denounce this piece as total, ill-informed drivel. I’m very disappointed with the Guardian - whom I trust as a source of excellent tech commentary - to have published this, particularly with a idiotic, sensationalist link-bait headline.” - danielhowells
“It takes a hell of a lot more than a graphic designer to design and build a website, do your research.” - instructgraphics
“Good design is invisible. Good designers aim to reduce bloat and loading times. Either stick to what you know about or do some proper research.” - 01010010
“Brilliant op ed John! You just baited every high strung - comment writing - web professional myself included - between the north pole and the south pole to respond to your column. Kudos to your editorial strategy team for knowing how to increase registrations.
Am I right?
Either A. The Guardians team of savvy online strategist looked at a target user group (web professionals both technical and design) and based on their ‘righteous’ and sensitive pyscographic profiles collectively said ‘let’s get all these Flakey & Dorky’ web guys (and the 3 girls) riled up. After all The Guardian is not only a sophisticated online entity but it supports the design community and even design awards in the UK.
Or:
B. Your just an ignorant coot.
Either one, brilliant.” - josecaballer

In amongst the comments others also suggested some further reading on contemporary web design - Luke Wroblewski, Jeremy Keith, Mark Boulton - and that John might like to have a look at readability.com, a service that strips webpages back to their basics.

I’ll give the last word to redbloc:

“It’s also pretty ironic that the article is presented on this website, which is an excellent example of how a good design will make content easy to find and easy to read. The format of your own article invalidates your argument. Nice work.”

Disclaimer: This is . I am Lead User Experience & Information Architect at the Guardian. The views expressed are my own, and do not reflect the views of Guardian News and Media Limited, or any current or former employers or clients. Read my blogging principles.

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