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Programming is a Pop Culture

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Programming is a Pop Culture

An excellent read on how designers, like developers, favour the aesthetic and new and shiny over the researched.

An excellent read on how designers, like developers, favour the whatever-the-new-aesthetic-is over the researched.

Pop cultures favour the visual aesthetic of the day. We all know what sort of aesthetic designers commonly favour. Small, low-contrast text, lots of whitespace, no pure whites or pure blacks (just greys). The details vary with fashion, but each generation of designers has a preferred visual aesthetic. That aesthetic tests poorly; the text is illegible; the layout doesn’t have enough contrast. The information density is so sparse it’s effectively non-existent.

In development, Baldur argues that the current aesthetic favours correctness above all else (so, JSX over HTML and CSS-in-js over CSS); whereas, just a few years ago, we ditched XHTML for the much looser HTML(5).

By Baldur Bjarnason. Originally published 21/11/22.


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  • Bryan Redeagle

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Bryan Redeagle

@leonp I would argue that if you have a designer favoring aesthetically pleasing shit like low contrast rather than the needs of the viewer, then you have a bad designer.

Good design doesn't follow form, it follows function. Good form (such as aesthetics) is the side effect of good design.

There are ways to design well while keeping in line with the aesthetic needs of the project.