In the ongoing search for masterpieces on the web…

The Peabody Essex Museum has an online exhibit of a traditional Chinese home.

The exhibit is really very well designed and well styled.

When looking at design, I sometimes think about it from an organic design perspective. The web is at the core a place of data, rectangles, and symmetry…not so organic.

This site does a good job of delivering an organic experience to each user using textures, curves, shapes, and patterns that we don’t necessarily expect on the web. In addition, small animated slide shows pepper the site, consciously bringing with it its own sense of timing. And, it is well done so as to not seem distracting, but rather engaging.

Here’s some web history…this write

Here’s some web history…this write up by Nielsen may have been one of the major aggressors that got frame-bashing really rolling. Also talks about the basic ideas of the web ala Tim Berners-Lee, nodes and what not. Interesting in retrospect. I wonder how the new web community would respond to this column if it was released today.

“Why frames suck (most of the time)” from Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox for December 1996.

Okay, so this site uses

Okay, so this site uses frames. Why do I bring this up? Because frames have taken a beating in the web development community for the last few years.
Here are a few reasons why:

  1. They mess with our ability to bookmark pages. If you try to bookmark a page that is inside of a website using frames, usually you’d just bookmark the main page of the site, which wasn’t what you wanted. Irritating. However, new browsers are fixing that problem.
  2. Accessibility for people with disabilities and for alternate browsing technologies (like cell phones, PDAs, etc.) was questionable. Still is, as far as I can tell.
  3. For a while, many framed sites didn’t want to let you go when they linked outside the site. Incidentally, if you notice me doing this, it is an accident and please let me know.

I grapple with the decision to use frames, even now that I am using them. Do frames still have the problems listed above? Yes.

However, because this site is hosted on MSU’s pilot server, it doesn’t have basic web serving capabilities like accomodating dynamic content placement on sites, even using such basic technologies as server side includes. So, it is simply more convenient for me to use frames, given where I am at.

So, to all of you who are irritated by this frames based site…sorry, but deal with it.