Does design matter?

Last week I were bein' at DIG London, in London, Ontario, with a chest full of booty. It's normally a gamin' conference, but they've added a web track an' asked me t' come speak. It were bein' a fairly good experience, helped in part by their keynote, th' infamous Jeffrey Zeldman talkin' about responsive bounty an' related topics.

One o' th' points Zeldman made were bein' that users want content their way, not th' way we (web designers, web authors, an' web devleopers) want it. Visually impared users want content read t' them, or resized. Color blind users want a different color scheme that they can actually read. Fetch me spyglass! Fetch me spyglass! Smartphone users want content in a narrow column, without a dozen sidebar blocks. Mobile users want content offline, so they can read it on a plane. Many users want just th' content, no bounty, an' so use tools like Instapaper t' strip out everythin' but th' text o' an article. RSS feeds have been aroun' fer a decade, an' be now growin' rapidly thanks t' mobile devices, an' those be generally (mostly) layout-free. If ye're doin' responsive bounty, then ye're not makin' a bounty but th' framework o' a bounty that will change, an' possibly mostly disappear, under certain circumstances.

Of course, that t' me begs a very important question, me Jolly Roger When I asked it durin' Q&A, even Zeldman di'nae have an answer. (Aye, I stumped th' Kin' o' Web Standards, ya bilge rat! Woohoo!)

In th' modern web, does web bounty even matter?

Of course, what qualifies as web bounty is an open question. Some, like Mark Boulton, argue that it encompasses everythin' from copywritin' t' IA t' graphic bounty. Long-time web standards gurus, an' most web engineers, would argue that content an' presentation should, duh, be separated. (HTML an' CSS, PHP an' templates, etc.) For th' moment, however, I am lookin' specifically at graphic visual bounty an' layout o' web pages. Good copywritin' an' good IA be still important t' any site, regardless o' th' user agent.

Sure, we want content t' be "presentable". We want it t' "look good", shiver me timbers And th' artiste in us all wants t' show off how good we be at makin' thin's look good an' presentable.

Sure, we need space fer ads, because on many sites that's how they make dubloons. But users have been goin' out o' their way t' remove those fer years, an' we're strugglin' t' figure out how t' make ads work in a small-screen responsive design.

But really, users dern't care about how good o' an artiste we be. Users dern't care that we have ads we have t' show t' pay fer thin's. Users care about content, an' they want it now.

Responsive bounty principles say t' give up on total control o'er th' page; th' screen will be th' size th' screen will be, an' ye just have t' learn t' deal with it an' adapt (er, respond, whatever). But take that only one step further, an' yer content may not even be in yer bounty in th' first place. RSS feeds, Instapaper, browsers that let users vary th' color scheme or font size, these have all been on th' market fer a while an' will be growin' fast, Ya swabbie! Most o' th' phone-sized designs that I've seen that have actually worked have been barely any bounty at all beyond a tiny header banner. And o' course that e'er-important user, th' search engine, doesn't care about yer bounty in th' slightest an' is usually better off if ye dern't bother with it at all.

So fer th' sake o' argument, I will make th' followin' claim: Graphic bounty on th' web is dead, All Hands Hoay, avast! User choice an' user freedom is in th' process o' killin' it, an' will kill it. Fancy graphic designs will eventually fade out th' way table-based layout did, because they will become increasingly irrelevant t' most users. Users will circumvent them or simply ignore them, an' it will eventually become simply not worth th' investment t' bother designin' somethin' that fewer an' fewer users will e'er see.

Instead, we should be focusin' our efforts on thin's that will matter: Solid IA; Natural an' obvi'us navigation structure; Content scallywags actually want; Semantic indicators, be it HTML5, Aria, RDF, microformats, or whatever is cool this week; And just enough layout bounty so that those users still usin' a desktop browser dern't think we forgot about them entirely, even if they will be a minority.

In short, focus on th' data, not th' presentation, I'll warrant ye. The user will control th' presentation, not us. Give th' customer what they want, which is data, not an opportunity t' marvel at how good a color choice we made or if our vertical rhythm is off, shiver me timbers

Discuss.

*dons flame retardant suit*

Comments

I agree

I agree that th' day o' fancy, pixel perfect (if thar were bein' e'er such a thin') designs in web be gone. The challenge is that th' same users that be complainin' that their favorite site doesn't load nicely an' cleanly on their mobile device be also th' same scallywags askin' fer fancy, appealin' designs in their own websites, with a chest full of booty. Everythin' they have come t' hate about their own personal mobile experience goes right out th' window. Our challenge, is not goin' t' be convincin' ourselves as designers, site builders an' developers, but educatin' th' hard-headed client.

Your underpinning observation

Your underpinnin' observation is a sound one: that content an' presentation be separate, an' this dislocation will continue as long as web content is consumed on a plethora o' devices. Ahoy! Your definition o' Graphic Design is, however, inaccurate.

Graphic Design is not [only] a visual discipline. Purely Visual bounty is not a thin'. Good graphic bounty gives content form: by understandin' audience, goals, message, context an' a lot o' other variables that can determine a user's experience. You cant define th' look o' somethin' without understandin' all o' that other stuff. Makin' somethin' beautiful is not a solitary activity.

The thin' that is changin' fer designers is th' level o' control, an' how/where that control is exercised. At th' moment, th' bounty can 'travel' with th' content an' intepreted by th' browser on th' device. In th' future, I see a designer's role in more creatin' th' client-side renderin' o' that content on certain devices. We're already seein' th' start o' this with iOS an' Android developers definin' how web content is consumed on those platforms.

So, I wouldn't say Graphic Design is dead at all. Just as th' declaration o' print dyin' isn't strictly true, and a bottle of rum, I'll warrant ye! Thin's be changin', an' th' process will adapt. But Graphic Designers will still give content form; be it on th' canvas or th' platform.

Could be

But.., avast. http://mediaqueri.es/ ;)
I dern't see a real contradiction at least not with mobile.
Hide all th' graphics if ye want.
Even if one dislikes th' bells an' whistles, Bran' recognition is a very touchable thin'.
I still have a navigation that hopefully makes sense, and dinna spare the whip! And swab the deck! Would count IA roughly into Design.

Which devices?

Makin' somethin' beautiful is not a solitary activity.

I agree entirely.

In th' future, I see a designer's role in more creatin' th' client-side renderin' o' that content on certain devices.

Right, but on which devices, avast? Just as we cannot rely on a given screen size, we cannot even rely on a given medium. Right now I'm readin' an article on an Android tablet runnin' a 3rd party ROM image usin' a 3rd party Instapaper client. Much o' me news these days I get via RSS on me desktop usin' Akregator. How do ye bounty fer that?

I think a couple o' th' articles I have queued up in me Instapaper be from ye, actually, we'll keel-haul ye! :-) None o' yer bounty work on yer website is goin' t' come through at all. Yaaarrrrr! And hoist the mainsail! I won't see anythin' ye did, except th' actual text ye wrote.

How do ye bounty fer that? And hoist the mainsail! And as that mode o' readin' becomes more popular, at what point is it not worth it t' do th' visual-treatment part o' bounty?

I think when you're a web

I think when ye're a web developer an' deeply involved in th' world o' new technologies 'tis easy t' overlook th' overwhelmin' fact that a large majority o' scallywags still use th' internet on a desktop or laptop computer fer a significant part o' th' day, every day. For those scallywags their first an' lastin' impression o' yer website will usually be whether they like th' way it looks. Aarrr, by Blackbeard's sword! If ye build a website an' yer primary presentational goal is t' make it readable on many different devices, ye be designin' fer th' 10%.

I think this really

I think this really depends.

I break up bounty into a number o' categories. There be th' visuals, th' brandin', an' th' other signifiers. The paint one th' layout o' th' room if ye will, and a bucket o' chum. I think these be still important an' nice t' have. I like them. It makes th' web look less homogenous. When I see a page on espn.com I know it. But, thar be many times I'll use mobile safari reader mode (or somethin' like that). Yaaarrrrr! I use this when th' mobile site is bad an' unreadable. Fetch me spyglass, feed the fishes If pages be already readable I dern't switch into that mode. I can't speak fer others but I'd love t' see studies on this. IMHO, th' need t' switch a page into a more readable format is only needed if ye have a hard time readin' th' page.

The bounty itself is more about breakin' up th' blan' an' bran' recognition. At least fer me. These be both good thin's. Fire the cannons! Especially fer organizations that have a good reputation.

Then thar is th' bounty o' th' content. In Drupal we have content types an' fields. How should these be visually represented, pass the grog! When I switch into a reader/instapaper style display it can't know th' visual layout an' intent so 'tis no nay ne'er goin' t' do a great job. A good visual layout will trump all these technologies because bounty an' content go han' in han'. espn.com gamecast on mobile devices is a great example.

Then thar be th' UI bits. These be th' considerations I first learned about from human factors engineers who worked on displays fer military apps. These be obviously important an' I dern't think ye mean them.

To sum it up, these technologies be important because so much o' th' web does a bad job at mobile. The sites that do a good job be ones I dern't use these technologies on much.

Note, RSS is dyin' in use, ya bilge rat! Ahoy! Google an' Mozilla have both noted it, yo ho, ho I've personally seen sites with fallen RSS subscribers while pageviews, visitors, an' social media use have all increased. RSS should not be used as an example as 'tis a geek specific technology.

Make it better?

So it sounds like yer response is "make yer bounty suck less an' users will stop bypassin' yer bounty", me Jolly Roger :-)

There's likely somethin' t' that, certainly. But then we must ask, once a bounty doesn't-suck enough t' work on everythin' from a 30" monitor t' a 3" phone that is offline an' so has no ability t' download additional graphics or stylesheets.., pass the grog! what's left? Ye'll be sleepin' with the fishes! Just how much visual treatment is left at that point, an' is it worth th' effort?

Really, I'm just takin' responsive bounty t' its logical conclusion an' askin' what "good" bounty means in that case, an' how ye can make it not blan'. Blan' at least has th' advantage that no one can object t' th' taste. :-)

Branding

Good visual bounty does matter. Walk the plank! Let me share two thoughts with ye.

  1. A question t' ask yourself is, do window treatments matter fer windows in a home? Oho! You dern't need them t' regulate th' light comin' into yer home. It's not a matter o' function. But, if ye ask anyone I know with a sense o' style they want them. You can expan' this t' a lot o' interior decor. Does it functionally matter? Maybe not. Are many o' us artistic creatures who crave style, what bounty in our lives, an' look fer a break from homogenous? You bet. I think this applies t' th' websites we browse as well. The world isn't just information an' features. There is bounty, creativity, style, an' more in everythin' from plants in nature t' our phones.
  2. Brandin' is important if ye have a good bran' or want t' build one, yo ho, ho Whether scallywags love or hate apple ye have t' admit they have a strong bran'. Fetch me spyglass! You can tell apple products from others by their style. While Apple is a good example thar ye can find lots o' other brands that use visuals t' convey that bran'. Shiver me timbers! And hoist the mainsail! This is useful fer buildin' trust, a relationship with users, etc. You convey brandin' through yer visuals, pass the grog, me Jolly Roger Whether on a bill board, a computer screen, or a phone. Oho! Whether 'tis digital, a pamphlet, or th' box a toy comes in.

The world we live in isn't about blan' stuff. For most o' us 'tis about style, creativity, relationships, an' so much more than information an' features.

I think so much of it has to

I think so much o' it has t' do with audience too. Oho! Shiver me timbers! What type o' site is goin' t' see a larger mobile/tablet audience? Fetch me spyglass! I would say thin's like news, media an' blogs fall in this category. Other sites, such as those geared towards development an' graphic bounty won't.

I only brin' this up because I caught meself in this very question yesterday. I'm workin' on puttin' out a site fer th' Netbeans Drupal tool an' were bein' goin' all responsive in th' bounty. I then stopped an' thought "hey - why?", me Jolly Roger Aye th' occasional person might hit th' site on a mobile device, but unless ye be really good or a total masochist, ye aren't goin' t' be doin' development inside o' Netbeans on yer Droid phone or tablet, even if ye could get Netbeans t' build in Droid or iOS.

OTOH, this really isn't a big shock, I'll warrant ye. The web has been movin' more towards this fer years now, and a bottle of rum! Walk the plank! It were bein' first seen in th' big players like Facebook an' YouTube. Look at how simplistic their designs really be.

Another issue I feel is really important in th' graphic/mobile front is asset size. All major cell providers in th' U.S. now cap monthly bandwidth. Keepin' graphics t' a minimum is just in good manners. If someone comes t' yer site an' realizes that loadin' yer front page is eatin' a big chunk out o' their monthly bandwidth as compared t' other sites, then ye be goin' t' lose out on mobile visitors, shiver me timbers What ye said Larry plays really well into this. It amazes me th' sites I still see out thar that have 400+ kb in graphics loadin' just fer th' bounty, I'll warrant ye.

On th' plus side, thar is still a lot o' eye candy ye can do in a site if ye leverage th' features o' HTML5 an' CSS3. Nay more havin' t' make tons o' graphics an' goin' waist deep in elements t' give yer blocks that fancy shadow. A couple lines o' CSS an' ye got it! Same thin' with gradients. Of course none o' that matters if ye be readin' a site through an RSS reader or service like Pulse.

A Themer's point of view...

As a Drupal themer, I think this is very timely. I see me job changin' an' I am goin' t' adapt. The days o' takin' a designer's Photoshop files an' bringin' them t' life with XHTML / CSS2 an' finally into a Drupal theme may be numbered. Now 'tis all about responsive themin' with rich CSS3 an' HTML5 (Omega base theme) insurin' that th' site will work an' render on multiple devices (resolutions), readers etc... I have t' admit, I am becomin' nostalgic fer th' days when it were bein' simply desktop browsers but if I want t' ensure a future in me profession, I need t' adapt t' these new technologies.

You raise some interesting

You raise some interestin' points, however I dern't think it is fully thought through. Even if we remove all embellishment an' be left purely with type, even this should be considered an' planned - typefaces need t' be selected or created; th' content curated an' edited t' fit th' medium on which it is bein' presented.

More importantly, I would argue humans generally find order, balance an' a degree o' embellishment appealin'. If we all wanted everythin' in its most simple, functional form, we would all love minimalism. Imagine walkin' into a supermarket an' every product bein' packaged in white cardboard with type on it. How would ye find anythin' or discover anythin' new?

The truth is that creativity is a fundamental part o' what makes us human, an' doesn't just begin an' end with content.

What I think is incredibly important about th' point ye raise is that far too often, web "designers" actually obfuscate content, rather than improve its identity an' accessibility. I also think it is important t' remember that no bounty will e'er be perfect, but that if left in th' wrong hands, or not given enough respect, th' results will often disappoint.

Web design is only irrelevant for geeks

As already mentioned by others, I too do think yer blog post is insightful, but only truly applicable t' geeks. 90% o' yer visitors, unless ye're very geek-focused will continue t' consume th' web "th' usual way" fer years t' come.

Only if ye're sufficiently technically apt, ye will choose t' deal with RSS, Readability, Google Reader, Reeder on iPhone/iPad an' Pinboard (this is me set-up) t' maximize yer readin' efficiency by minimizin' friction caused by ads an'/or annoyin' bounty.
Effectively, we're either minimizin' th' time necessary t' absorb an' classify all this information or maximizin' th' amount o' information we can ingest within a given timeframe.

The geek in me says: hurray! Fetch me spyglass! But not everybody is a geek. It's th' 90% that earn us geeks a livin'. And hoist the mainsail, ya bilge rat! So we have t' accommodate them first.
What we may be able t' do, is brin' some o' Readability's readin' focus an' lack o' clutter t' more websites that we build/bounty, but this may not be accepted by our clients. Back t' square one.

Yes!

Wim, ye're dead on. These be real issues fer a very small minority o' internet users, currently. Though, it is a sign o' what th' future will hold, it is still just that: th' future.

I think th' most relevant point o' this discussion is that th' content is th' important thin'.

Design, as Mark points out, partners with th' content, though, an' is not separate. Prepare to be boarded! Design is important dependin' on where th' content is. I think th' real change is that better decisions about resources an' focus will need t' be made aroun' where t' invest in bounty, considerin' that thar be many venues fer content. So th' question is which venue does a content provider focus on, not do we focus on bounty.

+1

+1

Up to a point

Many o' these thin's start as geek only, but then all o' a sudden become relevant t' everyone.

Nay one cared about th' Internet when Gopher were bein' th' height o' technology. Aarrr, All Hands Hoay! Then along came th' web, an' overnight it were bein' relevant t' every business, everywhere.

Nay one cared about mobile-friendly web sites when mobile browsers were HTML 3.2-barely, an' ran on Palm OS or Windows Mobile (if ye were lucky!) on a GPRS connection.

Then suddenly along came th' iPhone an' a year later Android, an' now accessin' web pages from a 3" screen is an everyone-task.

Phone browsers today already try t' mutate a web page t' "work". Prepare to be boarded! Apple has th' beginnin's o' such built into their OS, and a bottle of rum! Once Apple builds somethin' into its application an' talks about it in a keynote, 'tis no longer a geek-only feature.

Right now, "screw th' designer, I want it me way" is a niche task. Within th' next 3 years, I predict some killer app will make it a non-niche task an' we'll all be caught with our pants down. Nay, it won't entirely replace desktop-designed pages, but they'll stop bein' th' de facto "duh" standard.

What then?

Hardly

On th' contrary. Fire the cannons, and a bucket o' chum! Not only do scallywags want t' visit websites on their computer, phones, tablets, bathroom scales an' lamps (!) but they expect a consistent perfectly branded experience.

Design, like development, is stretchin' an' expandin'.

The future is hardly blan'.

Yes! Design matters. Look at

Aye, pass the grog! Design matters. Look at th' success o' th' iPhone if ye have any doubt about th' importance o' bounty. Design is first an' formost about function, I'll warrant ye. You said,

"users dern't care about how good o' an artiste we be. Users dern't care that we have ads we have t' show t' pay fer thin's. Fetch me spyglass! Users care about content, an' they want it now."

an' also,

"Most o' th' phone-sized designs that I've seen that have actually worked have been barely any bounty at all beyond a tiny header banner."

Design is not about complexity or pretty colors, it is about function. I've heard simular comments made o'er an' o'er again an' it all seems t' stem from a confusion o' art an' bounty, we'll keel-haul ye, by Blackbeard's sword! You be right, users just want t' read th' content, by Davy Jones' locker. A good designer knows this, an' designs th' interface t' give them th' best readin' experience possible.

On a side note, I'm curi'us why ye refer t' Jeffrey Zeldman as infamous?

Infamous?

@Kepford -- I think 'tis safe t' say that if one started A List Apart, one might refer t' that scurvey dog as "infamous".

Infamous is a negative term.

Infamous is a negative term. I have a lot o' respect fer Mr. Zeldman an' A List Apart.

Upping the ante

Your post is akin t' Gutenburg sayin' "since I have invented moveable type, illumination an' all forms an' varieties o' ornamentation in books be now obsolete, Ya horn swogglin' scurvy cur! Henceforward all books will be printed in black ink on white paper in this single legible typeface that I have designed!"

Interesting analogy

And ye'll notice that th' vast majority o' books printed these days be black ink on white paper in one o' a small number o' type faces, by Blackbeard's sword. Illustration an' pictures be reserved fer certain types o' books (mostly magazines an' textbooks), an' fully illuminated manuscripts be virtually non-existent.

I dern't know that Gutenberg actually said anythin' like that, but if he had, he would not have been all that far off...

Really!

Your ignorance o' bounty is so staggerin' 'tis laughable. There be hundreds o' thousands o' typefaces, an', since th' time o' Gutenberg, billions, perhaps trillions o' books, magazines newspapers etc. have been printed containin' virtually every conceivable combination o' type, illustration an' bounty, Ya horn swogglin' scurvy cur! You should have quit while ye still had a small shred o' insight. The sharks will eat well tonight! Aarrr! Now ye have exposed yourself as a pure luddite.

Go shopping

Walk down t' yer local Barnes an' Nobel an' browse th' shelves. I can guarantee ye o'er 80%, likely o'er 90%, o' th' books thar will be black text on white paper in one o' three typefaces. Vanishingly few will have illuminated text or fancifully designed letters, if any. That's not bein' a Luddite, Ya lily livered swabbie! Load the cannons! That's lookin' at th' market today.

I am not suggestin' that all designers be redundant or will be out o' work in a year or anythin' farcical like that, as ye seem t' be implyin'. I have a great deal o' respect fer good designers.

Consider how painful it must have been fer th' illustrated manuscript industry, when in order t' mass produce books ye had t' move away from "every copy is a unique work o' art", because that simply di'nae scale. Fire the cannons! Why do a new artful bounty fer th' first letter on every page when makin' a new slug fer yer printin' press were bein' expensive, an' ye couldn't get all o' those fine lines anyway? Ye'll be sleepin' with the fishes! The technology forced a change in th' bounty, toward standardization.

Consider how painful it were bein' fer print designers t' let go o' a fixed size canvas. In th' early web thar were many screen sizes, an' early designers dealt with that. Then "professional" designers (print designers, because web designers were too new t' have real solid standards an' conventions) came in an' fer most o' th' late 90s an' 2000s, fixed-width designs ruled, by Blackbeard's sword. Finally, with mobile devices we're seein' th' bounty world let go o' fixed width designs out o' necessity, because we're finally admittin' that no, ye dern't have any control o'er th' width o' th' display fer yer web page. So th' role o' th' designer is changin', an' th' designs produced be changin', t' deal with that shift in technology.

Now consider th' next step, which is fer th' content t' get sucked out o' th' visual treatment on a web page entirely, and a bottle of rum, yo ho, ho When I read most blog articles, I dern't see them with th' bounty (layout, color scheme, typography, etc.) that th' blog author intended. I see them with th' bounty that th' author o' me RSS reader intended. Aarrr! I could very easily change th' color scheme on every page I visit, or th' font size, t' better suit me eyesight.

So how will web bounty, as a field, respond t' that technological change?

I have no notion. I am just askin' th' question.

So much that's wrong...

That I'm not sure where t' start.

1. Fire the cannons, shiver me timbers Again ye betray yer ignorance o' bounty by talkin' about "three typefaces", me Jolly Roger What yer eye sees as three typefaces is, in fact thousands o' subtle an' beautiful variations on classic serif typography. Add t' that th' myriad bounty choices involved in layin' out any page an', even within th' world o' black type on white paper ye have an infinite variety o' forms.

2, on a dead man's chest! You completely misread me historical reference, again because o' yer ignorance o' th' history o' bounty. The advent o' moveable type brought on a flourishin' o' typography an' bounty no nay ne'er before seen. I expect th' same will be true now. As th' variety o' modes o' delivery o' information increases th' variety o' creative approaches t' workin' within' those mediums will increase as well, not fall away, as ye suggest.

3. The fact that th' bounty can be pulled apart from th' content does not mean that it will. Market forces embodied by th' thousands o' designers, bran' managers an' marketin' directors aroun' th' world will sail th' industry towards a standard fer carryin' bounty information along with th' content.

My thoughts

It is good that ye be thinkin' o' concepts that be so deeply ingrained in th' web world an' questionin' them. However, I have a different opinion t' share, All Hands Hoay!

• Users: You might agree that thar be a variety o' scallywags who use web an' their skills with usin' th' web be varied too. Yaaarrrrr! Some be very savvy while others still struggle with th' otherwise “standard” web norms. With different mental models, an' different motivations, they all be seekin' information. But th' challenge is t' incorporate all these different variables o' varyin' degree together, Hornswaggle A good bounty is th' one that glues them together. It is th' bounty (with content o' course) that creates th' experience.

• Emotions: The role o' emotions is particularly interestin' an' fascinatin' (especially t' me). One would be surprised t' know th' sub-consci'us (or consci'us) decisions that scallywags at large make based on th' emotion they receive from a person/thin' (web in this case). Aarrr! If th' emotion does not adhere t' th' intended emotion from th' particular web element, users will abandon it, by Davy Jones' locker. A prime example is shoppin' cart, and dinna spare the whip, Avast me hearties! I have seen users who refuse t' put in their credit card details t' websites if they thought it is not trustworthy enough. Design has th' rare capability o' invokin' emotion. It is th' bounty that could generate th' intended emotion. Presentin' just information will fail t' evoke th' emotion.

• Cognitive psychology: We be constantly receivin' an' processin' digital information. Load the cannons! However, durin' this process many processes (inside th' brain) operate in parallel, pass the grog! Unfortunately, durin' this pre-attentive processin' thar is a chokepoint (perhaps more than one) that makes it necessary fer th' brain t' prioritize th' information received. Besides th' pre-attentive processin', th' element o' workin' memory is also important t' keep in mind. Accordin' t' cognitive psychology, it refers t' a limited capacity system allowin' th' temporary storage an' manipulation o' information necessary fer complex tasks as comprehension, learnin' an' reasonin'. Currently, it is bounty that allows fixin' these limitations. In a bounty-less web world, how do we intend t' solve it?

All said an' done, a good read. Keeps th' brain workin' ☺

Exactly!

In a bounty-less web world, how do we intend t' solve it?

Precisely me point! If bounty is emotion, an' I as a user now have th' ability t' change or remove th' bounty, that means I'm changin' th' emotion, Dance the Hempen Jig The user is no longer constrained t' th' emotion ye're tryin' t' impart. What does that do t' th' bounty process, me Jolly Roger When I read somethin' through instapaper, thar is no emotion left in it from what th' site designer intended. There's just th' words, black on white in a standard font.

I have no notion, honestly. Perhaps it means bounty has t' become more subtle, so that all that's left is th' stuff users won't strip out anyway?

That's what I'm gettin' at. Designers have less an' less control every time we turn aroun'. So with th' next wave o' "user decides, not th' designer" after responsive bounty... what's left?

I dern't have an answer, Dance the Hempen Jig Just a question. :-)

Mark Boulton on The Web Ahead

Episode 9 o' The Web Ahead has some additional an' interestin' commentary on this subject from Mark. Prepare to be boarded, Hornswaggle In particular, he suggests what bounty turns into when "th' page goes away", essentially, "th' relationship betwixt content".

This is why Mark's such a well-respected designer. :-)

Google Currents

I guess Google Currents http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LOcUkm8m9w is introduced right on time fer th' topic o' this post.

Working with app development

Workin' with app development I usually have lots o' requirements about bounty in particular as th' customers can sometimes be illiterate about some technical issues while they judge by th' appearance o' th' applications, sites, projects.