Twitter is most definitely one of the best forms of online marketing, and we all know it. It offers a way to mingle with your fans in short and sweet messages, as well as promote your sites content, your companies promotional deals or something completely different! For this reason, it is generally a good idea to have an account. But is Twitter for designers really a helpful resource that we need, or is it just another way to get distracted and find excuses to not do work?
The other day I was reading through an article by my good buddy Radu Chelariau, entitled “Analyzing In-Browser Design” over on his SickDesigner blog. The article is a great analysis of the many benefits of actually designing websites in the browser itself. If you haven't already read it be sure to check it out! One of the things that I found interesting, however, was the way he continuously used the word “tradition”. For example, when discussing the interesting relationship between working with code and creating beautiful, visual designs, Radu writes:
What In-Browser Design does, in my experience, is break that dichotomy because it reverses the traditional order of things. By tradition, we first create a design mockup, the client gives the ok and then we start coding.There's a lot of truth to that statement, or at the very least a lot of interesting possibilities, but the one word that really struck me, and which I have been meditating on ever since I read the article, is this notion of tradition. Basically, what this passage is implying is that the use of Photoshop (or some other, similar, application) is the traditional way of designing websites. By implication, of course, that also means that the process of in-browser design is somehow counter-traditional.
I'm guessing that most of you have seen the recent article over on Smashing Magazine, entitled “In Defense of Photoshop,” in which Tom Giannattasio makes a case for the continued use of Photoshop as the primary application for web design. The article makes some interesting points about the creative process, and the even suggests that designing in the browser somehow creates a disconnect between the designer and his work. I'm not so sure about this second point, though. I understand where Giannattasio is coming from, but I think the argument assumes a singular design methodology. It assumes that the designer needs to actually create the design as one, organic unit, much in the same way that an artist would create a painting. In fact, the article explicitly states that “Great design relies on an open dialogue between the artist and the medium.” Now that is an interesting statement, which really puts the article's argument in perspective. The assumption that I see here is that effective design is an organic process, which brings the entire visual composition of the site to the forefront. “So what?” you ask. Isn't that what design is all about? No. At least not entirely. Design is about making intentional and purposeful choices for framing content (as discussed here). Obviously, visual treatment plays a huge part in that, and as designers we pay a lot of attention to that part of the job – maybe even too much from time to time. But that's not the entire purpose of design.
Building a successful website is no small task, especially if you’re going into business – it takes time, effort and dedication, from working out your business plan and unique selling point (USP) through to designing and managing your website and optimizing it for search engine rankings. So with all the effort you’re putting into your site, why restrict yourself to just one language market?