Dear Graphic Designers,
I understand that you are artists and by definition probably a little prone to inconsistencies for the sake of artistic license and creativity. I’m a little artsy fartsy myself so I can appreciate the desire to freehand a stroke rather than pull out a straight edge and right angle; after all this is art, not drafting…or is it. See, a web developer craves and desires regularity. Consistency, predictability, repeatability are programmable. That is, I can write something once and use it over and over with forecastable results. In odd cases, I can program exceptions. Exceptions to rules, much like the real world, are ripe for abuse and unpredictable results.
Consider the job of a doorman at a nightclub. He has been given a procedure. When someone enters the club, he increases the number on a counter in his hand. When someone leaves the club, he decreases the number on a counter in his hand. He is now given a rule which is as long as the number of people in the club is less than a particular number, let’s say 740, then he should let the person in the front of the line in. Once the counter hits 740, he doesn’t let people in. Nice and simple. Now let’s say the manager has a thing for a certain type of woman so he makes an exception to the rule. Any pretty blond woman under the age of 30 wearing a tank top and skirt above the knees immediate gets in without standing in line. We have introduced several opportunities for error but let’s focus on the most obvious one. If 740 people are in the club and a pretty blond 23 year old in a mini-skirt and tank top walks up, does the doorman let her in or send her to the back of the line?
Back to our graphic artists. When you are designing a layout for a website, the layout is typically created as a single image then sliced into smaller images. If you are designing a horizontal navigation bar, when slicing it up do not make two images 41 pixels tall, one image 42 pixels tall, one image 43 pixels tall, and the creme de la creme, the final image 44 pixels tall, and expect me to easily line up the text below the images. Especially don’t do this when the extraneous pixel height is all white space! Thank you. That is all.