Judging ugly – an open letter to Gabe Rivera

Judging ugly – an open letter to Gabe Rivera:

Dear Gabe,

I don’t think Memeorandum is ugly despite what anyone says, even when, except for that “butt-ugly” comment in the last sentence, they are praising Memeorandum. (Later: Geez, Heather Green picks up the ugly meme.)

This is definitely one of those times when beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Really. Is /. beautiful? Is Del.icio.us beautiful? Is web design/usability guru Jakob Neilson’s website beautiful?

Someone with a print design point of reference may not be drawn to the aesthetics of Memeorandum, but someone who primarily accesses news via an RSS newsreader will recognize the future of the web when they look at your site.

Keep your site ugly and fast and on-task.

I’m not saying all websites should be unconcerned with aesthetics and design. Some should be works of art. Some should wow us with their beauty.

But “services” like Memorandum, that can be accessed in many ways via different types of browsers and newsreaders, both via a computer and mobile device should not be designed to look good in one specific context, but to work for those who use it in a myriad of ways, on a wide range of devices and configurations.

Bottomline: As you know, Gabe, I’ve been a Memorandum cultist since day-one. I told you that at BlogNashville. I am happy lots more people are discovering — and telling the world — how cool what you are doing is.

Regards,

Rex

PS: You can take my design advice with a grain of salt, however. Someone who would velcro a nano and Treo together won’t mind how Memeorandum looks, even it were ugly, as long as it does all the cool things it does.

  • Michael Arrington

    Rex, thanks for the comment and the link. My “ugly” comment was a bit of a joke – I know Gabe quite well and am constantly bugging him to change the blue color to something less sterile. 🙂 I do really believe that memeorandum is a very, very important site.

  • Gabe

    Thanks Rex! Yep, usability is important, so I won’t change things at the expense of usability. In fact, hopefully I can enhance that a little.

    Now on reflection, it seems making things “ugly” has worked as a great conversation starter…

  • Ken Yarmosh

    Rex…good point about del.icio.us. Neither it nor memeorandum are especially “beautiful” from an aesthetic standpoint but in terms of relevancy and must-read material, they are both beautiful in my eyes.

  • Heather Green

    I confess I haven’t used it in RSS, but I don’t really think I am coming at it from this must look like print perspective. I’ve been online for 10 years at this point, so I don’t think I am biased that way. It just feels flat.

  • Heather Green

    That being said…I have been using it over the past couple of days and really like it. So, if function drives form, take my comment with a grain of salt. And just fyi, my understandiing is that part of the money Joshua raised at delicious was to make it a little more user friendly..

  • Heather Green

    That being said…I have been using it over the past couple of days and really like it. So, if function drives form, take my comment with a grain of salt. And just fyi, my understandiing is that part of the money Joshua raised at delicious was to make it a little more user friendly..