Less Is Still More

Post from May 21, 2008 (↻ August 15, 2022), filed under (feed).

This and many other posts are also available as a pretty, well-behaved ebook: On Web Development.

Spending resources on making things worse is something I find absolutely fascinating.

Let me elaborate, beginning with HTML newsletters: Hours are spent writing supposed content, creating and decorating mockups, working around email client limitations, and finally sending mails that aren’t read at all, and, at the end of the day, hurt the sender.

Take designers decorators: Instead of communicating function, time is invested in creating distracting non-information that takes long to load and that violates every rule brought to us by century-old craftsmanship in information design. It’s then labeled “creativity” and “design.” Take the various ways standard user interface elements get redesigned, ending up making them undiscoverable and unusable.

Take web developers: Instead of gaining experience by developing and optimizing websites, “frameworks” are used that require training to do something that’s neither tailored nor well-written nor fast nor anything. Generally take the countless efforts to clutter markup by unnecessary elements, unnecessary attributes, unnecessarily long ID and class names, non-semantic or over-semantic ID and class names, pseudo-accessible techniques, and so on, winding up making the results slow and unmaintainable.

Yes, we all make mistakes. And we all learn. But, less is still more.

Toot or tweet about this?

About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on September 30, 2021.

I’m Jens, and I’m an engineering lead and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.

If you have a question or suggestion about what I write, please leave a comment (if available) or a message. Thank you!

Comments (Closed)

  1. On May 21, 2008, 21:11 CEST, Duluoz said:

    Client comes to you with 0. They want 1.

    Decorator says - ” 2-2=0 + 5 +10 +25= 40 - 2=38… 38-26=12/2=6+1-8+1+2-1=1.”

    Developer says - “well we have 5x, not sure what x is .. hold on.. ok we’re up to speed on what x is.. now.. what did you want again? 1? well.. let me get back to you… ok we can do 1 lets talk to our decorators…”

    I’m lost.

  2. On May 22, 2008, 10:31 CEST, James said:

    Ha ha, very good point - one I wish people would remember a bit more before they go specifying to the Developer(s) that they want 1, but they’d also like to be able to make it 0.2, 0.3 … 0.95.

  3. On May 28, 2008, 16:58 CEST, tedd said:

    Proper words in proper places, make the true definition of style.–Jonathan Swift

    We all have style, just some have more than others. It does seem that verbosity is inversely proportional to style.

    While I don’t find it difficult to tell a client that what he wants to say is too much, I do find it next to impossible to get them to understand that less is more..

    I call it the NASCAR syndrome. You design a web site to get a single point across to the user, namely buy the client’s product and the client wants to clutter it up with distractions. They take a million dollar idea and paste 10 cent decals all over it.

    Too bad I wasn’t born rich, because then I could annoy the hell out of people with my ignorance.