High5 Award - Excellence in Photoshop?

In Hindsight

When the web was really young, I took quite a personal perspective to being good at what I did. One part of this was reading tons of books on the subject and following a lot of websites. The other was keeping up with what the gurus of the time thought. This raised quite an annoyance in me as my interest in the web grew "from an organic perspective" rather than in a "horizontal perspective". With horizontal I mean that I didn't do print first and then moved to web. I wanted to publish things on the web, and to do that I had to understand more of the underlying techonlogies. This is why my sites have never been visually stunning, they have on the other hand worked on pretty much any ol'e browser out there, and been fairly clear to navigate and read.

But at the time of writing this article (1999-02-07), very few websites which focused on content were given any notice, in fact, most awards went to sites which looked pretty. Frustrating to me, as this article will probablly tell.
Time travel to a time where browsers were called Netscape Navigator 2.0 and you had 216 safe colours to play with and a noisy 28.8 modem.

I have been whackin' homepages since late 1994. Back then there was no Netscape, no webawards and so on. Many people started doing homepages, like me, and suddenly the web was a hip place to be. Yieehaa!
Suddenly a few people got paid to do homepages, some of them did a few cool ones, and then they were called gurus and, as gurus do, for some reason, they started criticizing other peoples work. They started handing out awards, just like the darn Academy Awards.

Now, of course, I like the idea of awards, I'll gladly accept any award (even the worst site of the day hehe). But don't you think the award guys should know what a homepage is before they start handing out awards? Don't you think that they should look a bit deeper than the first page? Shouldn't they consider some compatibility issues?
Well, the fact is, most of them don't care about that. As long as you know Photoshop, smack up a cool first page with Mac-safe colors (most of the 'artistic-award-guys' use MacOS, dunno why...) and suddenly you got yourself a cool award.
Many creators think that they need absolute power control, well, that's not the web, dudes. Wake up n smell the pixels! Well, anyway, they still think that, so, when their skills doesn't cover HTML, but they know Photoshop, they think, 'oooh, thank god for T1 hookups, imagemaps and tables'. So, they design the whole site in Photoshop, charge the customers up the ae for updating the site, and make visitors wait a very long time for a few fancy images.
So, in comes the guru-i-am-cool-web-award-dude, sitting on his corporate T1 line. As a former designer, he knows how hard the HTML part is, and gladly accepts that the page loads in 15 seconds (normal people, like you and me, have to wait 90 seconds for the same page). And, the award dude thinks,
'Wow, nice colors, very well used Photoshop here....' BANG the award goes out! So (with a slightly pissed attitude), what about the guys that master HTML, accept it, make functional pages that works for all visitors in all ages despite of the browser version? On top of that, the pages load in a flash! What about us? We whack a page, make it visible in all browsers, without any JavaScript error messages, make it load in less than 20 seconds, with a 14.4 modem, make a GUI that works for all visitors, and that is easy to maintain. How about us? Where's our awards?

What can we learn from this? Well, as usual, with tons of money, many webmonkeys, fast Internet acces, and a lot of images, "anybody" can create an award winning homepage! It's so easy, *DOH!*

To the web-award amigos; Do respect that many webnerds consider many many aspects of the web and its users. Many projects have really slim budgets, most of us do magic with what we are presented with; A slim budget with many many aspects to consider to make both customer and user happy. The visual part comes a bit further down the road. And, using Photoshop for creating webpages is like making automobiles out of clay; It may look OK, but it really won't work out there in real life.

Just a finishing touch; The High 5 award homepage sucks quite a lot! First, a cocky quote, then a frames based main page. With a very very strange navigational system (I haven't figured it out completely, yet). And with a very very large image loaded, mostly with type that you barely can read. The images that are used do not have specified width and height tags, so the page looks very strange while loading. And, the awards go out to webified Photoshopfiles. Sucks! (Hey, I'm good at this, maybe I should do awards instead...)

One more note...

I tried to locate the High5 homepage. Wich should be at its original address of http://www.highfive.com/ but it's gone. Instead there's a generic holding page. Classy!.
I did find a lot of sites that sported the High5 award banner (and still link to the broken site) on Google. Quite funny. That's how long that one lasted. Ah well...