A special code of conduct

This site for a web developer, designersfriend.co.uk, proves that a well executed idea will reap rewards no matter what the media

I write this column whilst still smarting slightly from an unprovoked attack courtesy of an anonymous blog troll.

The gist of the unbelievably ill-informed criticism went something like this: because I had just created something to run in a newspaper, then that work was by definition, dated, ineffective and well … rubbish. Apparently because newspapers are, like, er so old school and y’know … history, man. And, er … totally not interactively awesome. Thanks so much for your feedback.

That kind of self-satisfied digital fascism is worryingly common. Yet utterly irrelevant. One more time: our business is first and foremost about ideas, not the media in which those ideas happen to run.

What kind of ignorance and insecurity leads self-appointed digital ‘experts’ to slag off clearly good work that just doesn’t happen to exist in digital media? Baffling.

And back in the real world, the ad in question was in fact the single most memorable page in a newspaper with over 3.5 million daily readers.

As you can no doubt gather, my Creative Review deadline means I haven’t really had time to simmer down before putting pen to paper (oops, sorry – when will I learn? – finger to keyboard).

In fact my cowardly, cretinous blog friend has even influenced my choice of featured work this month. It’s digital of course. A website. For the services of a web developer: designersfriend.co.uk.

Unlike most websites, it is based on a great idea. An executional idea. An idea that trended on Twitter and resulted in a million hits in its first week, such is the brilliance of the site (and the brilliance of social media of course – see what
I did there? There’s none of that narrow-minded media segregationist nonsense with me).

It wasn’t, however, good enough for this year’s Digital Design D&AD jury – you know who you are – shame on you. But let’s save that particular rant for another day.

The guy behind this site writes code for a living. So why not design the site to look like code, making the front end of the site look just like the back end?
If you doubt the genius of this idea, I suggest you take a look at the dire state of some other sites for web developers. This one wanted to stand out in a cool, relevant, intelligent way. Job done.

Admittedly, the site may give some UX experts a heart attack. And guess what, that’s precisely why it’s good.

This is not a site for everyone. It’s a site for creative people who are desperate to finally find a web developer who cares about the design and the craft as much as they do. Again, job done.

Of course, this work wasn’t immune from its fair share of idiotic blog trolls either.

Thank God this column is.

Paul Belford is the founder of London-based agency Paul Belford Ltd. His work can be found at paulbelford.com and he tweets from @belford_paul. Design and coding on designersfriend.co.uk by Edinburgh-based developer, Andy Mathieson

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