The Semantic Web
A trillion years ago when the internet wasn’t filled with mind-clouding circlejerk, a couple masterminds had an idea: the Semantic Web. Now, get this: much of the Internet you see is built for humans like you, not computers. Gridded layouts, pictures, heavily scripted modal windows: computers don’t understand any of it. Those nice things we have exist because we, the humans, like em. Of course, design controls your impression of a site. It rewards beautiful sites and destroys ugly ones (read: gawker media, digg). But hey, it becomes a problem when design starts to become more important than content.
I’m not talking about data structure design. The internal workings and logic of a website are massively important. Trust me, I screwed up plenty before. But , the visual things we see, the stupid little control bars and pretty colors or obscene Ajax over-kill: they don’t belong on the web. You lose sight of the original purpose of the internet. Purpose? Try summarizing in a couple words what the Internet does, for you and for anybody else who uses it. It’s rather difficult given the immense variety of web “crap-plications”. If you really care to hear about it, the internet is a way to let humans (that’s you) interact with a database. Databases are such an abstracted concept in society, you know, the “cloud” and “distributed computing” all that web-marketing bullshit. Actually, databases are simply records of information. In its simplest form, the internet can relay chat messages, or maybe an encyclopedia, or funny pictures and helvetican ammunition for self-important nonconformists. Whatever you’re using, the main role of the internet is reading, creating, updating, and deleting data. Websites should reflect this purpose. You know, form to fit function.
The idea of one semantic web is an internet centered around information, which is definitely the reason why the web exists. In this utopia, fancy flash-powered pizza hut websites and ridiculous neon-blue sparknotes grids have no place. Instead, all information is as simple or complex as it needs to be, and all information is available, not only to humans, but also to computers. A computer will not like clicking through 10 pages of flash content to order pizza. The W3C is an organization dedicated to achieving a standardized semantic web that is usable by both humans and computers. Websites should clearly indicate headings and footers with their proper semantic tags. No more table nonsense for laying out pages. Tables are semantically meant to be tables, nothing more. So, I want to say that RogerHub’s design that is ~10KB + jQuery is rather future-proof1.
- See the secret to understanding design. Absolutely wonderful, if not for their ridiculous paywalls. ↩︎
3 CommentsAdd one
In case you missed my point (likely) websites should reflect the purposes of their owners, not of your or any other self-proclaimed authority's hoopla.
What a load of doo-doo!
The web *is* what people use it for, period.
The philosophers of the web have given us nothing but Utopia
talk and sometimes ridiculous "standards" for 20 years now.
It shouldn't take a PhD and a dissertation to achieve 3 column
equal height layout, but there you go. Everyone now knows that DIVs and
floats were a complete crock, so now we are going to circle-jerk-heaven on the
"Grids" - like grids and tables are so, you know, "semantically" different. BS BS BS!
Its like the widow that married
a computer scientist. When her friends asked her about her new sex life,
she said "I dunno, he just sits on the edge of the bed, rubbing his
hands together and telling me how great its going to be."
I can hear your voice ringing in my ear, asking me why I focus on design so much (when I suck).