I’ve been trying to figure out the nature of my growing distaste for HTML, and I think I’ve got it figured out. At first I thought it was the drudgery and inconsistency, and indeed, it’s part of it, but that’s not the main thing. The main thing is that I’m a far better critic than designer. I have no trouble at all looking at Web sites (or other GUIs) and seeing what’s wrong with them in terms of aesthetics, usability, and also architecturally (in terms of how hard the code is to maintain), but I’m unable to translate that into improving my own meager design skills. So when I’m working with good designers, it’s easy for me to contribute to the process by making useful suggestions or pointing out flaws, but when I go it alone, I can’t visualize really well designed sites above a certain level of complexity, nor can I implement really complex designs.
The thing is, I’m totally OK with that. I’m not one of these people who feels like they are great at everything, or that they should be great at everything. I know my own strengths, and being a user interface designer isn’t one of them. I know how much I dislike inadequate designs, so creating them myself is just utterly and completely frustrating. This as all come to a head on my current project, which I stepped into when it was about 75% done. It has a passable (but not great GUI) implemented in a way that’s sort of complex and hard to deal with. So working within the constraints of an existing GUI that I know could be better is annoying, and having to figure out all the wrinkles of how it was implemented so that I can get work done is even more annoying. Fortunately, I think I’ll be done today.