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Weblog Entry

WThRemix Entries In

March 08, 2003

Wow. ‘Underwhelmed’ comes to mind. The entries for the W3C redesign contest are in, and it’s pretty clear that the goals of the contest weren’t entirely met.

The theory: redesign W3.org to be far more attractive, useful, and organized than its current incarnation. Not officially sanctioned by the organization itself, but still a worthwhile goal.

In web design there are three camps these days: the amateur hack (who rarely cares about standards), the hardcore W3 geek (who rarely has a lick of design talent), and the designer (who creates beauty that seldom validates). The contest represents the second category in spades. It’s obvious the latter category, the people who were supposed to enter, didn’t.

Let’s be clear — pure CSS and XHTML design can be quite effective, but due to the boxy nature of DIVs and the lack of diversity in available fonts, they all tend to be unified by a certain style. There’s a distinct look to CSS–based design, and while some are far better than others, it’s generally not hard to tell at a glance whether a site was mocked up in Photoshop first or coded from the ground up.

So it seems that the designers this contest targetted collectively shrugged it off. Why? Lack of exposure? It hit K10k and others. Lack of interest? Quite possibly. Many designers would rather work with the uniform consistency of Flash than the tricky tinkering of CSS. Lack of payoff? The prizes weren’t exactly drop–what–you’re–doing–and–bang–off–an–entry calibre. Whatever the reason, it happened.

Pretty high and mighty position for someone who didn’t submit an entry? Maybe, but am I wrong? I’d have liked to enter, in hindsight, but in my case I just had better things to do.

There are a few great entries though, this one and this one are quite strong, and while busy, even this one is a step up from the rest. Familiar with the work of about half the judges on the list, I’d guess I have picked at least two of the top three finishers. My money is on Radu.


Reader Comments

1
paul says:
March 09, 10h

sweet mother of god, most of those entries are hideous. i think only out of work, crappy programmers entered that contest.

2
Dave S. says:
March 10, 11h

I was really looking forward to the entries in this contest. I remember seeing it promoted on some of the major design sites, advertising it as “a way to make W3 standards sexy so designers start supporting them.”

I tend to see W3 cheerleaders as being code jockeys, accessibility freaks, and people who generally don’t use Photoshop much. There’s overlap, since a lot of great designers are also really supportive of the idea and use structured XHTML and valid CSS, but they’re generally the exception rather than the rule.

Which is probably why this contest failed. If the goal is to lure more designers into using CSS et al, then you need designers who have already bought into it to enter, not code geeks. Most of the entries focused on the ‘organizing the navigation’ side of it and completely missed the ‘make it beautiful’ part.