maetl

The standard is rising

It's good in Wellington at the moment. I'm just glad that I am going to be able to sleep this weekend (unlike those about to unleash the 48 Hours!). But there's a lot going on outside this little sphere that's worth noting - just fragments for future reference...

Greasemonkey is taking off. I'm pretty stoked to see ideas like Lickr emerging, and it leads to some serious questions about the dynamic between information design and accessible content. User scripts can be used to remarkably improve the usability of websites, applying the power of the document object model (mostly) to replace broken and flawed HTML and CSS content, and route around javascript annoyances. But increasingly, user scripts are going to actually enhance and replace existing web interfaces, adding elegant dynamic behaviour, binding remote content sources, and doing things so un-thought-of that I can't even begin to understand or comprehend yet. The challenges have already begun, with examples such as hijacking Amazon affiliates.

I don't know how many eyebrows Web 2.0 for Designers raised, but I think that these issues could potentially be far more significant for specialized information architects than designers per-se. The art and science of typography hasn't changed, and neither have the basic principles of form, and content. The ideas being challenged are rather more spatial, both in terms of branded territories (who owns the user interface? who controls the user interface?) and in terms of page (or resource) based models of information (who owns the content? who wants the content? how do they recieve the content?). The increase of user control, and recent enhancements to manipulating persistent data (Google News, Flickr, Backpack, etc etc) as well as the Tiger Dashboard, suggest the emergence of a new web - a web we all wanted years ago, and but for the stagnation of the transitional browsers, we would have had years ago.

I've been feeling so jaded and burned out recently, and wondering if I was over web design. But now comes a burst of energy and enthusiasm for developing user interfaces all over again.