storyinmypocket: ([web design] markup)
Okay, you wanna know something which really irritates me, and which I keep seeing?

People with styles that set <em> and <i> text to some ridiculous shade of pale gray/white/whatever which makes it harder to read and interrupts the flow of text. I've seen color changes in text used to great effect, but the entire purpose of <em> and <i> text in standard usuage is to emphasize.

(Okay, italics are actually used for quite a few different purposes -- I'll give you that. But this is why we have semantic markup which doesn't specify format, but rather intent. <em> emphasizes. <cite> exists for citations, and has exactly the same effect, but the semantic version lets people using screen-readers get more meaning out of the text by telling the program how to read it out, where italics tell you nothing at all. And that's a whole other rant.)

So why, pray tell, should emphasized text be harder to read? How does that make sense?

(Look! The <em> tags are coming fast and furious! Because I am worked up! And feeling the need to use emphasis!)

Even the layout I'm using now (on my Dreamwidth account, anyway, where this is being crossposted from), which I quite like, had this little gem in it:

i, em {
color: #CCCCCC;


b, strong {
color: #4D4A6A;

...which is just more color-fuckery for no reason.

...Yeah, I tossed those bits out as soon as I noticed. Because what the fuck, people? Seriously? What the everloving fuck? It lightens the text, appearing to detract from the emphasis rather than add to it, so the emphasized text appears to fade out, and what's more, it creates a distinct break in the sentence while the reader's brain shifts gears slightly, instead of rolling right along while adding the required emphasis like it's been trained to do.

I do not like things that make my brain do needless extra work in deciphering a simple sentence.

I just can't understand why anyone would do this. There's no good reason for it. Maybe if you made <em> text bright red or something, it would make sense -- it would be kind of ugly, and annoying as hell, but it would be a signal to a reader's brain that this is really deserving of emphasis, instead of making it seem less important somehow. (See me screwing with CSS? Isn't it kind of irritating? Do you really want this to happen every time I emphasize a word?)

The only explanation I can see is that this is some form of designer masturbation -- "Look at this cool thing I can do, everybody! No, it doesn't add anything to the content, or make said content easier to read, or even add any real aesthetic value, but who cares? IM IN UR CSS CONTROLLIN UR TEXT! *fapfapfap*"

Yeah. You're a special snowflake, layout designer. You have mad leet skillz. I tremble in awe at your ability to micromanage layout details to the point of utter uselessness.

Otherwise amazing designers keep doing this shit. And it makes me want to punch babies.

Here's a hint, designers: we know you're good. You make pretty, pretty layouts, and people like them. So why must you pointlessly demonstrate your CSS mastery to such an absurd degree that it impairs legibility?

Granted, I know for most of the designers out there, it's a labor of love, and no one's paying them to make layouts freely available. I'm thankful that there are people out there willing to spend time beating layout CSS into submission so I don't have to. I just don't see the point in messing with the text.

Content trumps design, and a good design doesn't fuck with the content, but merely presents it in a way that's both aesthetically pleasing and easy to read. Text-fuckery which doesn't add anything to the content means that somewhere, somehow, you FAIL.

You fail so hard.

Please stop failing, designers. I like you. I really do. I'm grateful that you're designing layouts at all, and I'm certainly not above going into the CSS and fixing things that bother me.

But when your design is getting in the way of people's content, I can't help but feel there's something wrong, and I can't for the life of me understand why it's happening.


storyinmypocket: (Default)
Jaqui Lokadottir

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I've got a story in my pocket and a bag full of apples; I'm rewriting this fairy tale whether you like it or not.

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