Alex Stockwell

UX, DevOps, Fatherhood, Miscellany. Not in that order.

Color your screen

Going out on a limb here, I’d like to propose that Web Design is … like a coloring book. Bear with me, because this may not totally pan out.

What most people think of as web design - the designer choosing colors, positioning content boxes, adding pictures and styling the type - I would argue is more like web decoration. More like coloring in the coloring book. Because the coloring book should actually already be finished before the coloring ever begins. The book already has the dark, permanent outlines of the characters and scenes and story. They are planned out and fully completed and cannot be changed by the user no matter how much decorating they do. They can be colored over and attempted to be hidden, and they can be added to in a much less permanent manner, but they cannot be undone. Likewise, the website should already actually be done before the coloring (e.g. decorating) ever begins. The equivalent of the dark character outlines represent the site architecture, which manifests the solutions to the problem that gave rise to the site’s existence in the first place. And to be sure, there definitely are right and wrong solutions to web design problems, because making it harder than necessary for a user to achieve their goal is a failure of the site, which in turn lowers sales and ultimately hurts brand perception. And no amount of coloring or penciled-in elements after-the-fact are going to be enough to correct that flawed foundation.