Open Mouth, Insert...


I've got a conundrum on my hands.

As most of my readers know, I occasionally whip up a blog design that I really don't want or need. So I send it over to BlogSkins for other people to use for free. No problems there, as far as that goes, and the templates have been moderately successful.

The issue comes when I'm done submitting the skin (Not to mention adding the notices both here and in the LiveJournal supplement, which exists only to let those that are too lazy to check anything but their friends list that this blog has been updated. But I digress.). You see, when I submit something, I feel an obligation to check out some of the other recent designs. No big deal, right? I know there will some good designs, some bad designs; it comes with the territory at a site like BlogSkins.

The true horror begins for me whenever I try to view the source of a template.

Now, I understand that a lot of these kids are coding directly to a browser that I won't use (Internet Explorer) and that a decent amount don't know enough about CSS to take full advantage of it (which would explain the use of <font> and the large amount of inline styles just for positioning). Also I know that getting these templates, with their odd, blog-engine-specific tags sticking out here and there, to validate is pot-luck at best.

But when I see pages that place the opening <html> tag a third of the way down the document, or insist on three <body> tags, or scramble their code so that everything is inside <head>? That's when I get upset, despite myself.

I want to tell these kids who want to be designers, who probably don't know better, that their coding sucks and will probably not be seen properly (or at all) in the better browsers of the world. I'm not sure how to go about it though. At least not without sounding like some angry blowhard that they can dismiss without even thinking.

Any suggestions?

3 comment(s):

Blogger Curtis said:
In my opinion there is no way that you can really convince those people to change. Either they are incompentent or they are lazy. Blogger has all sorts of decent articles about template design. They have no excuse for making those sorts of mistakes.

The best defense you have is to keep making (at whatnever pace works best for you) your own designs. People who download from you know that you do a better job than most. Keep up the great work!
commented 1:09 AM, July 18, 2004
I would think that the best way to combat this is to post your own work and let them see how it is supposed to be done. A lot of the other BlogSkins designs may be fine if you are 12, but I'm not:) And, a lot of other people are not, either.

I've been watching BlogSkins for a while, and can honestly say that your "Personal Info Page" is the only one to have ever made it to my bookmarks. I'm eager to see what else you are going to come up with, so keep up the good work.
commented 8:50 PM, July 18, 2004
Blogger MK said:
You guys are exactly right, and that's what I'm going to do.

I'll just have to suppress the urge to beat them about the head and shoulders with a copy of Zeldman's "Designing with Web Standards" when they put up something that horrifies me. Or better yet, just ignore the other designs on BlogSkins altogether.
commented 6:34 PM, July 19, 2004