Beercamp 2012 Website and the Value (and Fun) of Experimentation
It’s easy to get boxed in by the reality of developing websites that are responsive, cross-platform, cross-browser, gracefully degrading, semantically perfect, progressively enhanced, _______, _______ and _______ (space to fill in upcoming buzzwords). These techniques are useful on production websites to ensure reach and consistency, but they can also limit our creativity.
I’ll be the first to admit it: the Beercamp website is buggy. Browser support is limited, and usability could be improved. However, the website is an experiment. It’s meant to explore what’s possible, not satisfy what’s practical.
A dogma is emerging in our industry — and the buzzwords above are its doctrine. Experimentation enables us to think beyond that dogma. It’s a wonderful exercise that indulges our curiosity, polishes our talent and ultimately advances our industry. If you’re not experimenting in some capacity, you should be.
In February, when I was developing the website for AMP Energy, kept running into IE8. The browser just wasn’t equipped to handle the creative ideas our team put together (not only that, but you can’t even install it on Windows 7 to do decent testing). We wanted to push the edges of what prominent brands do on their flagship sites – rather than microsites like Nike’s Jumpman project – but browsers kept holding us up.
Every once in a while it’d be nice to work on something knowing it won’t work in every browser or on every system, but also knowing it doesn’t matter because it’s just that awesome. Yeah, that would be fun.