Pixel Perfection – What a dumb idea.

Having learned design for web around the same time as print, rather than being a converted print designer – I’ve always been a fan of gridless or semi-gridded design. I like fluid layouts that aren’t reliant on exact positioning. Partly this stems from early in my career when people would window switch between nutscrape and ie and ask me to rectify “bugs” where a block of text was starting 1 pixel too high or low. To me (so long as its lining up isn’t a design feature) I couldn’t care less about these so called bugs.

The way I see it, unless I can find that design flaw WITHOUT checking both browsers then I see absolutely no reason to “fix” it. After all, day to day users of a web site don’t check the site in multiple browsers, so so long as the page doesnt scream “I shouldn’t look like this” I am happy, the audience are happy and the client ought to be happy.

Of course there will always be perfectionists who chant for pixel perfect, cross browser design (I have some clients who still ask for it – and like a good mac monkey, I strive to oblige) but the truth is that as designers and devleopers it is our responsibility to educate our clients about the pros and cons of these sorts of issues. After all we are supposed to be professionals. We are supposed to be experts. And we should behave (and be treated) as such.

I firmly believe thay my profession as a web developer is almost as specialised (although slightly more accesible) than that of a surgeon – but I guarantee that my clients won’t tell their surgeon how to remove their appendix…

So swinging back around, the direction that changing web standards, over recent years, has brought my design style, would seem to me to be moving me towards web designs whose aestheitc is deliberately geared towards fluidity and flexibility (the element of web design that many print designers fail to comprehend) – so that at the slicing stage I (or the guy cutting my design) won’t have to deal with these issues. To me, on a day to day basis, I want my sites to be usuable, information focussed designs whose aesthetic complements usability, rather than overshadowing it.