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I would like to clarify that i am in no way against innovation, neither do i see a conflict between creativity and usability.
I simply want to point out that usability and function in my world is far more important than what i would call “style”, and to some (in my eyes, poor) designers, design and style are basically the same thing.
Designing for the web is different than designing for printed media (or moving media, for that matter), it’s more like product design in a way. There are both more usability-issues aswell as technical limitations.
When you design a car or a fork or whatever, there are some limitations as to what you can or should do. You can add a spoon to the end of the fork and call it a spork and all is fine, but if you decide to remove the handle “because no one else has done it” it’s just a useless piece of crap… or maybe a very short comb…
That being said, I’m all for going nuts in the initial stages of a design process, i agree that that is how you get good ideas that may or may not be the conventions of tomorrow, but in the end you have to remember that your site is going to be used by someone, and that is who you are designing for.
So finally I would like to expand you initial statement to “don’t design for the web, design for your users”.