Everything You Need to Know About Web Design My Father Taught Me in 1964.

To say my father was interesting is a slight understatement. He told me politicians and preachers couldn't be trusted to pay for their television ads (he spent almost 50 years in the TV industry), so how could you trust them at all? But the most interesting fact he told me had to do with web design.

I don't remember exactly when Al Gore invented the Internet. Seems like it was in the late 1960's and the World Wide Web certainly wasn't around back in 1964 when my dad taught my sister and I everything there is to know about web design.

It was my birthday and I was getting ready to start dating so my father decided it was time he had a little kitchen table lecture with his two prize students, Vincent and Ann, and he told us the following...

"There are two types of web sites. There are those web sites you date, like 'The Data Was Lost Collective...'

image of Data Lost Collective web site

...and then...there are those web sites you marry, like Yahoo! The trick is not to confuse the two."

image of old Yahoo home page

Now, of course, my father didn't exactly use web sites as his example and I can't really use his exact words — but you get the drift.

In web design terms, my father was right. Too many web designers get confused about what type of site they're creating — below is the Qualcomm site that was up for a long time. (When you click, the image gets really large and hard to view. Click the arrow and it will be more readable. I think YouTube took the video down.

Qualcomm used Mystery Meat Navigation

If you're creating a site that's for a media company (movie, music, etc.), fashion company, art school — sites where there's no accountability for the bottom line, then it's OK to use "wild and crazy" design techniques. As Lou Reed said, "It's a temporary thing." This type of design is not supposed to be serious and last forever. Have fun.

If you're creating a real web site for a real company, you have to choose a design that's not quite as exciting. Something more responsible and restrained. Something dependable. Something you'd marry <grin>.