Critiquing Web Design & Front End Development Throughout Pakistan

I’m appalled at the state of web design in Pakistan1, for the people of Pakistan. It’s a valid concern for me and in hindsight, perhaps there is a cultural way of thinking that hinders the growth of mature web design here in Pakistan. Design, at it’s core is about communication and local designers haven’t taken the time to perfect their craft-more surprisingly when I speak with designers I’m stunned to see that they aren’t abreast of the latest trends happening on the web.

Points to consider:

  • There is no shortage of talent or human resource in our nation. Perhaps it’s sheer laziness or the lack of will to step out of their comfort zone.
  • Acceptance of design in the market and what appeals to people. I see this trend changing, people want to see quality design that communicates ideas clearly.
    • Web design in Pakistan is considered cheap labor. There is hardly any value attached to being an awesome web designer. Sooner or later Front End Development will catch on.
    • That said, there are jobs in the market for specialists that pay a decent salary.

Research and Universal Design Principles

As of today, here on my blog I’d like to start focusing on web design and what goes into it. Having said that, I’ve started a new category on my blog, Critiquing web design in Pakistan and my aim is to provoke thought and inspiration to others. I AM NOT critiquing the designers of these user interfaces but the design itself.

I urge everyone to read: Under The Loupe: Critiquing Web Design.

For me everything starts with research. Let’s be honest, not everyone will take the time to understand the multi-disciplinary web-it’s a difficult subject to grasp. Furthermore understanding Universal Design Principles and Heuristics for User Interface Design will give us a clearer picture of how we need to communicate our message clearly through the designs we build.

Evaluating a Good Web Design

Web design is relatively young field and comprises of people from different background, many of those who lack any formal design training. So what makes a good web design. Here’s how I will be dissecting a design:

  1. Gut Reactions
    Gut reactions are valuable, but we need to articulate our reactions. I would like to take time to become more comfortable with a design and look more closely to see what’s positive.
  2. Relevance, Context and Audience
    Critiquing a design and knowing the context which is going in. Taking the time to go deeper than just visual design will be one aspect in my critique.
  3. Technicalities
    One of the most important measures of a UI’s success is how well it meets a users expectations. Does it respond well on different devices and the technologies used to develop the site all play a vital role in critiquing a good web design.
  4. Designing For Expectations
    Understanding the medium that you design for and implementing patterns for users to gain traction on that medium. For example if you’re designing a website, you know that your users know how to navigate a website. Perhaps you can create the illusion of a one page app with the new History API in HTML52.  Also designing for emotion and interactivity play important roles which will be highlighted as my critique begins.

You don’t need to be an aeronautical engineer to understand all of the above, nor do you need to be a rocket scientist to understand the diverse world of web design and front end development.

I can’t wait to start my journey and within that I am sure I will gain a better understanding of design myself.
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  1. The Dawn website, http://dawn.com/, an example of a poorly designed website built on wordpress
  2. A great article on the History API, certainly beneficial to read it