The curse of the Web designer

First published

No matter whatever the medium, a great many artists begin to hate their work for a variety of reasons. The same applies to Web designers — perhaps more so, because it requires the agonizing process of translating their vision into code, something that turns off many prospective creators. The seemingly-endless tedium of angle brackets and curly braces makes even the most skilled designers squirm in consternation as they prepare to take on another client.

Some webmasters come to this point of self-loathing after they have finished such translation and get the chance to pull their heads out of the morass of HTML and CSS that composes the design. As the design loads in their Web browser for the first time, the horrific nature of their handiwork slowly comes to light. Their pupils dilate, their hands rise up towards the heavens, and they scream:

What have I done?! What is this… this… abomination I have released upon humanity?! I have created a MONSTER!! AAAAAAAGHH!!!

… as crows fly into the air and lightning and thunder roll in the background over a dark night sky. (Despite the obvious theatrical value of such a scene, no film has ever been produced whose plot centers around a desperate Web designer, to my knowledge.)

[clears throat] Anyway, while the suicide rate in such circumstances is extremely low, such poor souls will usually scrap everything in their design, whether good or bad, and start all over, or just give up altogether, their dreams never realized.

Others begin to recoil in disgust after being exposed to what they originally thought was a good layout one too many times. They see elements of their design almost everywhere in Web sites they’ve been to before. All of the techniques intended to give the site a unique flavor begin to come off as kitschy, clichéd, unoriginal. A non-semantic block here, something that could be replaced by AJAX there, tiny browser bugs everywhere begin to break the design into little pieces. This phase usually drives the designer insane, if only temporarily, and motivates them to redesign what is otherwise a perfectly good Web site.

And finally, a precious few never like their creations at all. Every single attempt, no matter how beautiful it is to others, comes out botched and incomplete to them. Thousands may compliment them, the design may be ripped off for use in dozens of other sites — but still they go on with their mantra of:

Web design is for losers.