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Nice post, provocatively written, but my first thought on reading the article was that Sam will often comment that the layout etc is not bad but could it incorporate a softer look – maybe some gradients, rounded corners, that kind of thing.
You tackle that well in your reply by pointing out that you could do this for IE but that it will:
* Slow the site down
* Make the site less flexible for future development
* Give a diminishing return compared to other efforts
However, in my experience it’s rare enough that these arguments will win ‘Sam’ over.
IE is still dominant and many clients want these touches in their designs, regardless of whether they are comparing in browsers or not – they are comparing with their competitor sites who use image based rounded corners etc.
As for the speed, flexibility and diminishing returns, this kind of logic is often seen as nerd logic, and not entirely incorrectly.
What is the hit on speed for most connections these days and how will it impact the site when compared to having a ‘more attractive’ first impression of the site?
Flexibility too will come under fire – are you saying if we go for rounded corners we won’t be able to change this content or that content? We will be able to? So what’s the problem? Ah, if we want to change the design. So you’re saying we should take a hit on the design now in case we want to redesign later? Hmm. Flawed logic there perhaps…
Diminishing returns – I see what you’re saying – ok what are you offering me in place of these design elements and lets compare them when we know exactly what we’re talking about…
I guess what I’m saying is, great post, great debate, but I think you may have over simplified the argument.
There are certainly projects for which this is a valid approach, but I don’t think it will work as a blanket approach.
Then again, if this is your approach all the time, perhaps I’m wrong.