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Thursday, May 31 12:01 AM EST

11 Questions with Vincent Flanders

By Brian Briggs

BBspot (6): How many e-mails a day do you get that tell you that YOUR site sucks and what do you tell these people?

Vincent: The number depends on whether people read the FAQ or not. If they're smart enough to read the FAQ, they don't write. I probably get a couple a week. My response? I tell them to read the FAQ. Basically, the site is called Web Pages That SUCK and not Web Pages That DON'T suck. I try to make the site suck in less obvious ways. The front page uses CSS rather poorly -- but it's a page that validates correctly for CSS and HTML 4.01 or something. If you visit the page using Netscape you'll get this message that everyone misinterprets that I'm a pro-Microsoft browser person. I've also tried the "obviously this page sucks" approach -- but nobody got the satire. They thought I was serious. I'm always tempted to "fix" it but doing so would be giving in. I'm stubborn that way <g>.

BBspot (7): If you could change one thing in the course of web history what would it be and why?

Vincent: I would have forced Microsoft and Netscape to flip a coin to see which company would be the only one to offer a browser -- the loser had to get out of the browser market and nobody else could offer a browser.

BBspot (8): After web designers grow tired of Flash what do you foresee as the next scourge of web design?

Vincent: I don't think designers will get tired of Flash. It's actually trying to play nice and as bandwidth increases it will be less problematic. I think the next scourge won't come from designers but from software vendors. For a while I thought Microsoft's Smart Tags would be the next scourge of the Web. Right now, all the spyware programs are the scourge. I think whatever new scourge is going to come from software vendors. I hate to say this, but I'm sure your audience of techies realizes, we're not in the world of Web design, we're in the world of software design. Web designers have moved from being architects to house painters. It's sad.

BBspot (9): Do you feel the dot com bubble bursting has helped or hurt the
proliferation of bad web design?

Vincent: It's definitely helped. Web sites now have to be accountable and that means the Web sites have to be more usable -- have to sell products. They can't use bad design techniques because they can't afford to lose customers.

BBspot (10): If you could choose to improve something else in the world besides web
design what would you like that to be?

Vincent: Protecting all the endangered primates, especially gorillas and orangutans. We also need to protect the plants. Why? Because there's some plant out there that's going to cure whatever disease that is going to kill you but once that plant is gone...

BBspot (11): Many geeks wax nostalgic about the good old days of the Internet when web pages were mostly text and not littered with banner ads and flash navigation. Do you agree that the web was better back then or has the web gotten better in the past 5-10 years?

Vincent: It's much more interesting now. I really love all the experimental and art sites people think I hate. I love what's going on.

Tell your audience to keep writing cool tools.

Check out Part I of the interview where Vincent addresses someone who hates him and rock stars.

More Interviews

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