Glass House That Is the Web

For a couple days I’ve wanted to post a follow up to “At least I’m not the only failure around here OR Learning from others fail”, where I beat up on last.fm’s latest redesign. I needed to correct myself on the “why are my weekly charts (really the only thing I go to the site for) now an extra two clicks away?” Turns out they are right there on my user page, and in fact do not require a page refresh to traverse the various charts. Bravo!

I am curious if “last 7 days” means they have changed the way they get that data, because it used to be “last week”, meaning Monday-Sunday. I haven’t looked at it carefully enough to know if it is indeed a nicely updated feature or a UI copy writing fail.

Which brings me to delicious’ new redesign. I’m not going to be as hasty –I barely interact with the actual website anyway thanks to their brilliant Firefox plugin (which, thanks to the new redesign, I can’ find the URL for)–but they violated the one design “thing” (it is so common I hesitate to call it a mistake) that gets my goat more than almost any other:

See, the web has one serious problem, despite many fine professionals’ attempts to correct it: Typography. And because I can’t yet rely on a particular website to give serifs to only fonts above a certain pixel size or not use that god-forsaken Arial, and since I have yet to find a browser or plugin that allows me fine-grained control over such things (even an “allow this site to specify their own fonts” would do for now), I have to set every font on every web page I visit to Verdana.*

And about 15% of the time, this breaks the layout of some page. Sometimes it is because the designer of said broken site has been too ambitious. They wanted their aesthetic cake with accessible icing.

I just didn’t expect it to break something as solid as delicious. That’s all. And it does. And whenever this happens, sometimes making my text bigger snaps things back into place, sometimes making it smaller helps. In this case either direction fixes/breaks different things.

I like their new tagging-as-address-bar-ish-breadcrummy thing they have going on now. I like some of the aesthetic choices. I like how they showed the differences in that little video on their blog. I just wish I could use the site w/o letting them shit Arial all over my screen. (Even though everyone uses it.)

And the user icon is a total rip off of PBS!!

  • Many, many amazing designers would take great exception to my embrace of Verdana, and that’s fine, and we can have that conversation later** …But everyone agrees that Arial is awful. I mean come on!

** For now, let’s just point out that it is a font designed by an actual typographer for the expressed purpose of being displayed on a screen made of pixels.

Ok, back to my own little world of fail now…