Web Essays by Simon Windisch - Can websites be categorised into visual genres
Web Essays by Simon Windisch - Can websites be categorised into visual genres Web Essays by Simon Windisch - Can websites be categorised into visual genres Web Essays by Simon Windisch - Can websites be categorised into visual genres Web Essays by Simon Windisch - Can websites be categorised into visual genres
Web Essays by Simon Windisch - Can websites be categorised into visual genres
 
 

Do designers have a sense of Genre?

Marie Laurie Ryan (1981) said "the purpose of genre theory is to lay out the implicit knowledge of the users of genres". I would extend that to the writers of genres.

In researching this essay I read a number of interviews with web designers. When questioned along the lines of ‘what are your influences?’ they almost never refer to other websites, nor refer to a website by genre.

<Q>What influences do you feel serve you as inspiration in your work?


<A>Ideas come from anything. I check how people do things and try to think why some things are good and some not and also how would I have done them.

(Flashplanet, 2000)

There is some awareness of genre as an aspect in web design, but it is proportionally small.

Digital Web:

Most arts have recognizable styles, like impressionism or transcendentalism. What recognizable styles of websites are there? And could you describe their chief characteristics?

Zeldman:

Style is an important component of authorship in any medium…You know Mozart when you hear him…I haven't categorized Web styles [Author’s italics], but off the top of my head I can describe a couple of people's work, just to prove the point that style is always part of authorship…Lance Arthur has a symmetrical, logical, architectural design approach that is flawless and clean and deceptively simple…there is almost-tactile pleasure in interacting with his interfaces.

(Digital Web, 1999)

In newsgroup discussions (macromedia.dreamweaver), I asked respondents to advise me on their awareness and use of website genres. Replies implied the negative (See Appendix B: Web designers and conversations).

It may be concluded that many website designers do not have genre at the forefront of their minds when selecting the visual aspects of a website. The criteria that follow might therefore be seen to sometimes have only an incidental relationship to genre.