Indonesian Web Design

Mar 17th, 2006, in Internet, by

On Indonesian web design.

If you look at the design of the page you are currently reading you might think that I have no right to talk about or critique anyone else’s work in the web design field given the page’s relentless simplicity and lack of any very interesting features. Many of you will know that the page is in fact using the Kubrick template for the WordPress blogging platform but I’ve never come across a template that I haven’t wanted to mess around with and if you have a look under the bonnet, or hood, depending on your preference, and you know what your’e looking at, you’ll realise that it is even more stripped down and simplified than the out-of-the-box version.

If you happen to be an Indonesian web designer one glance at this page will probably have you trying to stifle a yawn, or perhaps you’ll scowl, or make some sort of disapproving noise. For me however, not simply because I’m looking at it with a mother’s eye, or maybe father’s, I see more. Above all I see a lean and mean fighting machine, a page that is hyped up to do its utmost in the search engine ranking wars, as well as a page that won’t annoy anyone by being slow loading, will work in any browser, and doesn’t require any plugins that people don’t want or need.

Indonesian web designers rarely produce such simple and user friendly webpages. At fault mainly is the modern age’s obsession with advanced technical education, really a way of solving, or delaying the youth unemployment problem, the requirement that we must undergo three or four-year training courses before we are ready to begin work. Four years is some amount of time and it has to be filled up with something so, in this case, budding web site designers are required to learn all sorts of advanced and tricky techniques and abstruse areas of knowledge, possibly resulting in the basics of the craft being pushed down or aside and coming to be seen as dull by the students, while at the same time, for them, there’s not much point in learning something that you later don’t put to use. This is of course not specific to Indonesia.

Here as well there may be a tendency of people who are not proficient in English, and don’t care much for words in their own language anyway, to be naturally attracted to the visual side of the internet, the things that are colourful, move around, flash and bounce, and additionally the things that make sound.

Some minor and major problems with web designing in the country.

  • I.E. Fixation – the designer will tell you, on the front page, that the site is meant to be viewed using Internet Explorer (only). Who cares? And if it doesn’t actually function in another browser, such as Firefox, about 10% of visitors are immediately shut out.
  • Monitor Resolution Fixation – usually an ailment that co-occurs with I.E. Fixation. The home page will have some useless information like “Best viewed at 800×600 pixels”. Don’t care.
  • Flash & Plugins – you cannot enter the site unless you have a particular plug-in installed, see http://www.rattan-aps.com/ for an example (Note – this site is now dead (early 2008), not surprisingly, it used to have an all-Flash frontpage).
  • Look At Our Stats – the placing of those free stats counters like eXTReMe Tracking so every Tom, Dick, & Harry can see how few visitors the site is getting. For commercial sites this can be a serious business problem, look at stats for rattan-aps. The site averages, due to its poor design mainly, 2 visits per day – embarrassing for a company to let on about this to aforesaid Tom, Dick, & Harry.

For a company that simply wants a showpiece site that is not really meant to do anything, just look impressive, an Indonesian web designer can be a good choice for the work. But for anyone who needs a site to make money, drive business, create leads, be an active part of the company’s revenue, the emphasis on appearance-over-substance can stifle the thing from the start, and if the company is solely reliant on the internet for its survival the consequences are obvious. No point in making a great looking site if no one ever sees it.


4 Comments on “Indonesian Web Design”

  1. Javajive says:

    Very good points made here. I find the same problem when viewing Indonesian-made photography – very heavy use of photoshop, rampant manipulation, and techniques that look like they spent too much time with “Photoshop WOW” books. The sky in Jakarta will never be brilliantly blue – so why fake it?

    Glad to see you highlighting this issue – I only hope that some will actually consider this problem.

  2. Jiwa says:

    Great Article! I hope to see more people taking advantage of this. You can speed up loading time and save a lot of bandwith if you just use tableless based (x)html and css stylesheet built website.

  3. Completely agree with you, absolutely hate Flash. Especially when it’s being used for content that doesn’t need such plug-in’s. However, videos (YouTube etc), it’s a great utility. But many features can be achieved using JavaScript librarys (Take a look at my site, it’s all done in JavaScript).

    Good Post OP

  4. jhon says:

    Excellent article , I hope to see more people taking advantage of this. You can speed up loading time and save a lot of bandwith if you just use tableless based (x)html and css stylesheet built website.

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