SIGIA-L Mail Archives: Re: SIGIA-L: GAIN - Is Horse Whipping to
Re: SIGIA-L: GAIN - Is Horse Whipping too Good for Them?
From: Adam Trowbridge (adam_at_possibilitystudio.com)
Date: Sun May 27 2001 - 21:31:37 EDT
> (Frankly, I think a lot of us are envious because our audiences are
> people who enjoy a little interface challenge. When I see a site where
> innovation is permissible, I certainly feel a twinge of jealousy.)
If this is indeed true, then you should feel even more upset than I. If GAIN
offered the authors a chance to really experiment, the result is a half-limp
remake of hundreds of other sites.
Once again, you've gone on for quite a few paragraphs without pointing out
what was innovative or fun about GAIN. Where are you finding joy in this
site? It seems heavy and self important to me. There is not a light touch in
it anywhere. I do not see any trace of designers enjoying themselves. If
anything, this site is three times less fun than the average consulting
Frogdesign.com is fun (in places at least). It is obnoxious and hard to
navigate in places, it uses shockwave and frames (and sometimes one or both
don't work) but I get a sense the designers had fun making it. Take the "Job
Quiz" or take a look at the Timeline. Although it has gotten rusty in the
last couple years, when this version was launched, it was fairly innovative
in the content and presentation.
> Your smug insult ("for dinosaurs, by dinosaurs") and subsequent phony
> apology ("a very worthwhile pursuit") to print designers is a pose almost as
> dated as print itself. Yes, the AIGA is a print-dominated institution trying
> to catch up, but your comments served no purpose except to make yourself
> feel superior. We're all guilty of having a laugh or two at poor ol' print
> designers' expense, but when was the last time, 1995?
Actually, you missed the point entirely. I have the utmost respect for good
print designers. The dinosaurs are the ones who are poor print designers
desperately trying to make their way into the screen-based design world.
They are dinosaurs in the print world and dinosaurs in the screen-based
> http://www.37signals.com is cool, by the way. Took about 5 minutes for me
> to figure out what the heck 37signals is (it's a web design shop), and I
> certainly didn't find any substantial interface innovations (it's just a
> stack of hyperlinked flat HTML files), but I'm okay with that because I
> loved the site for a dozen other reasons.
Again, you seem to think innovation is making something flashy and cool
based on some new technology. 37signals is successful in approaching the
conceptual project of explaining "Who we are" as a design shop in an
innovative way. I do not believe it is successful in its entirety but I do
not know enough about the intention to call it a failure. As you pointed
out, it fails to communicate what they are in a few seconds. At the same
time, going through a few of the screens, I feel I know much more about the
personality of the company than with most design shops' web pages.
It is very easy to find a huge list of designers who try to innovate by
slapping together the latest technology (start with the Macromedia site of
the week for the last 3 years). It is much harder to find examples like
37signals, who have an innovative approach based on the most basic web
technology. ("just a stack of hyperlinked flat HTML files" indeed.) And the
approach is not "stick the same content in a flashy new technology" like
GAIN. An innovative approach for web design take into account that this is a
new way of communicating new content to a new audience. Shoving paragraphs
of text and collage pictures into DHTML or Flash does not even come close to
> What you call "screen-based design" is, to someone who's designed a few
> (and played tons) of computer games, the single most *anti-innovative* and
> restrictive aspect of web-based user interface design practice. I am a
> little bit disappointed with GAIN for adhering to that practice when Flash
> offers them so much more UI wise. Anyway, computer games are where UI
> innovations are an everyday practice, and almost nothing on the web even
> compares. Try the recent "Black and White" for a really interesting user
> Anyway, you may have found GAIN a bit tiresome design- and
> interactivity-wise (I tend to agree), but don't tell me you found it hard to
In order to find it hard to use, I would have had to have been interested in
the content. As it is, I went through and found the same old print magazine
content in a irritating interface.
> If you want to pick on someone having fun with outdated styles, why don't you
> just go out and beat up a teenage hippie?
Now, to drop all the serious discussion tone and take this comment out of
context, this is a wonderfully funny idea and I have to laugh out loud here.
I suppose I will have to wait until the Worldbank/IMF kids are in town
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: Sun Nov 23 2003 - 22:54:38 EST