Feed Readers Kill DesignPosted: October 4, 2007
In [Jason Santa Maria](http://www.jasonsantamaria.com/)’s talk today at [An Event Apart](http://www.aneventapart.com/) he outlined the latest thinking in design fundamentals for expressing your brand and identity through web design. However when his slide came up entitled “Sweat the Small Stuff” and he explained simply that **the details really do matter**, I couldn’t help but think about how increasingly more and more people are experiencing websites through someone’s lens like a feed reader, aggregator or even Facebook, in which a designer’s carefully crafted details, which collectively go not only to supporting your brand, but also the usability of your content, gets completely lost, or in some cases even perverted.
Curious to see how majordojo is experienced by most people, I did a quick survey of how [my very simple design](http://www.majordojo.com/2007/10/attending-an-event-apart.php) is seen via today’s most popular feed readers:
majordojo as seen in Bloglines
majordojo as seen in Google Reader
majordojo as seen through Sage
majordojo as seen in Newsgator
So if design matters, which it does of course, then why can’t these readers respect the design I choose from my content. Granted, from a pure usability point of view I think I could make a pretty compelling argument that it is in the user’s best interest to make *all* content, regardless of its source, completely uniform. But what if you look at this from a less myopic point of view? How can we appease the need for usability, but also respect the designer’s intent from the source web site?
And can this possibly be solved by technology?
Well, maybe. We already have a mechanism to define how a site should appear when printed via a web browser, or when accessed via a mobile device… why not use the same mechanism to help instruct readers in rendering my content within the context of their application?
Granted, the reader should be allowed to apply constraints to my content for aesthetic, usability and security reasons… but why can’t some of a designer’s carefully chosen fonts, colors, imagery, and detail bleed through? Why can’t there be a middle ground that respects usability and design intent equally? Or is that even possible?