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Self-Employment Limbo

The drawback to working at home is that it feels like I’m developing narcolepsy or something. OK, maybe it has something to do with the complete lack of structure to my day, and my recent tendency to stay out all night one day and then try to catch up on sleep the next. Whatever the reason, my circadian rhythms are shot to hell. I’m sure I'll even out eventually, at about the same time I rediscover the discipline to sit at my desk and be as constructive as I ought to be. I bet the first serious deadline I face will whip me into shape.

Design has been on my mind a lot lately, even though most of my waking hours have been spent on more mundane tasks. But design certainly has been a popular meme among the webloggers set lately (see here and here and here and here and here and here), and it still keeps coming back to the old "form versus function" debate that the Modernists all worked themselves into such a tizzy about.

I maintain that I think flashy websites are like cotton candy. The appeal lasts about five seconds, even if they're incredibly beautiful. Even I can't read 'em, or if there's actually nothing to read beneath all the bells and whistles, then I don't go back. Any web site that’s legible and elegant (and I don't use elegant as a stylistic term) has my undying loyalty. The web is a flexible medium as far as design goes, which is great. Good design isn't window dressing, however, and that goes for any medium.

With this site and Rumpus Room, for instance, the design has grown out of specific issues of content or structure. I try to keep the pages consistent so that it's very clear when someone leaves the pages I’ve worked on. Both sites are text-driven, so I try to make the text as legible as possible, considering the inherent problems of dealing with text on the web. I try to make sure that in a pinch the sites can be read with lynx, a text-based browser. Even the coding is consistent, because I use CSS to format everything. That way, even the guts are developed by design, not just the look.

It's taken a long time to set them up properly, but now that I have, I could redesign both sites in a few hours. But don't hold your breath, because I haven't been convinced that the sites or their context have changed enough to warrant that just yet.

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