In this game there a lot of rules. The interfaces we design should be accessible to everyone, from color blind users and those that might have limited vision, to those that might not be using a keyboard or a touch screen. Those interfaces ought to be fast and highly performant, we probably shouldn’t load too many fonts, or too many high definition images. Not to mention we should care deeply about semantics, color contrast, etc. etc. etc.
But I reckon it’s important to remember that we don’t always have to make the web for someone else. The web is for us, too.
What I mean by that is we shouldn’t let these rules influence our weird side projects. Websites can be weird and broken and don’t always have to follow all the best practices. We can make wild and foolish experiments that are inaccessible, with tiny font sizes, bad performance, inaccessible color contrast, multiple JS frameworks, for no reason whatsoever besides that we can. We shouldn’t, but we can hijack the scroll, we can override the default keyboard commands, we can have every part of our interface make a booming sound, and we can try our very best to break the browser as we see fit.
And so, over the last two weeks I’ve been working on a project just like that. It’s inspired by those sci-fi interfaces you might see Harrison Ford looking at in Blade Runner or the sort that Tom Cruise picks up in Minority Report. It’s just a collection of fake data and nonsense graphs that happens to look super cool. I call it: Useless Dashboard.
It’s just a fun webpage I made to see what I can do with CSS Grid really, where I try to make things look like they don’t really fit on a grid. And it’s all sorts of fun! Instead of worrying about semantics (which don’t really make much sense in this context) I’ve sort of started to see this side project in a very different light. All my web design work is really centered around designing information, but this is much more like painting where I’m throwing stuff all over the place and seeing what sticks.
And this feeling is somewhat liberating. To not be shackled by all those best practices and rules. To feel that I can do whatever the heck I want without anyone looking over my shoulder and judging me. I don’t have to worry about performance or naming conventions, or directory structure, as I can do whatever I please without feeling all that anxiety of making the most perfect website.
This thing is pure, hot garbage, and I love it.
Behold! My newsletter—sent infrequently—about new things that I’m working on. Every so often it’ll contain notes about web design and publishing things that I’m interested in, too.