As I'm sure you noticed, much of the web went dark on Wednesday (January 18, 2012). I am very impressed with some of the big name websites that did a complete or partial blackout. Google, Wikipedia, Wired, FireFox, Reddit, WordPress, MoveOn, InspiredMag and many more joined in this peaceful online protest. Our message was clear SOPA and PIPA are bad bills. I imagine there are still some lingering questions about all of this. I'd like to address just a few of them.
Back in 2000 Steve Krug wrote a revolutionary book exhorting designers to transform the web into a User Friendly experience. This concept was so vital that his book (with a few updates) was republished in 2006. The ideas in this book may seem like axioms at this point, but they revolutionized the way we build the web. My favorite chapter is on the common courtesies of making a usable website. Here, Krug explores the all too forgotten element of the user's patience.
For the past several days this week I've been working on various APIs. So when I sat down to write a blog post, that is all that came to mind. It's kind of like when Rivers Cuomo got his second wind and all he did was write songs about writing songs. I thought it would be wise to go ahead and give way to the impulse and tell my readers a little about what APIs are and what their place is on your website.
There is a common misconception among some web site developers that they (and therefore their clients) must choose between form and function. They are under the impression that there is a battle of Form vs Function. I'll admit it; I'm guilty of using this sort of language from time to time, but in my conversations there is a harmonious resolution. Recently I've had clients want to parse the difference in cost between a site that is functional and one that is cumbersome. I've even heard of developers who tell their clients they don't need a good looking site so long as it works. This, I say, is rubbish!
You should not ever have to chose between form vs function. You should have Form + Function.