On The Verge of Greatness

Saturday, May 22, 2004 at 4:06 am | Comments off

I always hate running across sites that are on the verge of greatness. When I see a site that falls just short, I'm disappointed that the extra initiative wasn't taken to push the site to the next level. A good example of what I'm talking about is a recent Web Standards Award winner, Goppa Fireplaces. (I'm not trying to knock the site at all - after all, I do feel it's on the verge of greatness...)

Personally, I think that greatness is achieved through the little details. Maybe it's a few well-placed borders or maybe it's that perfect blend of typography. Whenever a designer takes the time to perfect every detail of a site, greatness can't be far off. Of course there is a certain level of skill needed to create a "perfect site", but many designers have the necessary skill and are perhaps lacking only the motivation and encouragement to push themselves to that next level. I'm constantly trying to push myself to new levels - after all, I feel that every design should be a portfolio piece. Over the last year I've seen my design skills dramatically increase, due to a conscience decision and effort to try to achieve greatness.

I hope that more and more designers will push themselves on to greatness. I also hope that one day I'll be designing sites that people will consider great. Not just good, great.


May 22nd, 2004
7:15 AM | #

While I agree with you, you also have to admit that some of the things you are speaking of are strictly opinion based and many people may think that site is great already although I tend to agree with you. I consider my site to be ok. I know it isnt anything great but I worked hard at it and considering Ive only been doing HTML/CSS for a couple months I think both layouts on my site are decent, but getting back to the top at hand, I just think the good/great line is so fine and when it comes to down to it is is personal opinion.

May 22nd, 2004
2:16 PM | #

I will say the person who won the award for April does some awesome stuff via images.

David Robarts
May 24th, 2004
1:22 AM | #

The better I understand what it takes to make something great the more I notice the things that make it merely very good rather than great. However, I don't concider being on the verge of greatness is not a bad thing. Unfortunately my language skills are such that my comments about something on the verge of greatness are often taken as unappreciative.

May 24th, 2004
6:21 AM | #

Matt, I agree, some of those images are absolutely stunning. In my opinion, a few borders would have been appropriate, though.

David, I agree completely. Being on the verge of greatness is actually a good thing. It's a lot better than a large number of sites out there that aren't even close. I just see sites like that, and immediately think "if only they had done this and this..." ;)

Robert Wellock
May 24th, 2004
4:52 PM | #

I actually know Andy fairly well, i.e. the web designer of the said webpage and he is a Communist.

Though I have never agreed with is statement of WCAG-AAA.

May 24th, 2004
11:03 PM | #


Any specific ideas? What "little details" would have improved Goppa Fireplaces?

It would be neat to see an entry that had some of those general tips for those of us who just have to fake creativity and design sense (as opposed to those of you who are born with it or have learned it really well)...


May 26th, 2004
12:41 AM | #


In my opinion, a few borders here and there would do the Goppa Fireplaces site a world of good. On the homepage for instance, the large welcome image could benefit from some sort of a border. Also, the navigation on the site could benefit from some borders (both around, and within).

Also note that my main point wasn't to critique the Goppa Fireplaces site. I just used them as an example of what I was talking about.

Malarkey (Andy Clarke)
May 29th, 2004
2:19 AM | #

Well blow me down Ryan!

There was me idly cruising a few blogs and wham! You certainly got my attention!

I agree with everything that has been both here and at WSA. Why not drop me a line sometime Ryan and we'll have a natter?


Zach Blume
May 29th, 2004
4:47 PM | #

Wow. Once again, a great blog entry. So far I've found every link in this blog entry useful! And all the writing and content is great! Well done again!

Zach Blume
May 29th, 2004
4:48 PM | #

Oh, and I would say you are design "great" sites!

June 1st, 2004
12:24 AM | #

Hey Andy, I'll be dropping you a note shortly. Just to further clarify one point, this post was in no way a critique of the design of the Goppa Fireplaces site. I merely used the site as an example of what I was talking about... Wanted to be sure I was clear on that point. ;)

July 13th, 2004
9:58 AM | #

I was clicking around after reading your Negative Margins work on A List Apart. (Definitely intending to use it, invaluable stuff, that.)

I really love your design for Infinity Designs -- if you're not at greatness, I'd say you're a hop, skip and a jump away. ;D

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