Camen Design

c share + remix


I’ll go through aggressive, assertive periods on the web when I’m stressed and there are other times when I’m much more chilled out. Generally, I behave with no thought to how others perceive me. I am very forward with my opinions on design simply because I have absolute confidence in my assertions. You can call it arrogance, I call it not shying away from outputting my personality.

As my garden on the Internet has been getting more attention, I’ve become concerned over how others perceive me. We all make judgements and build up a profile on someone based on their interactions online, but that only represents half the person (online / offline), as it does with me.

So I followed Camen design’s second and third principles, namely to solve only my own problems and let everyone else solve theirs. (Note: For me, this philosophy only applies to personal website design! Camen has the most beautiful site, but he sometimes comes across as something less than a people person.)

Robert Nordan

My offline job is fixing people’s computers at their homes. I choose this job over being a professional ’Web developer because it’s a people job. It’s serving the end-users; the people who actually matter when it comes to computers. I do not think they are idiots, I do not treat them as dumb, I do not think of them as a sub-class. I’ve met some of the most astonishingly smart and experienced people and the fact they can’t operate a modern day computer but can fly a plane, drive a tank or had been a part of the building of the first digital computer in the UK means that the designers of modern day computers are to blame. Designers, like me, are to blame. We’re the stupid ones.

Working directly with computer users provides you the perspective that computers are just tools that everybody wants to use. There is no “average” user. I meet people of all ages, of all walks of life, of all qualifications and skills and there is simply no trend line here at all. Everybody uses computers—it’s not the 1970s or ’80s anymore.

Now online, my little garden is not designed for non-geeks. It is my private topiarium in which to inspire and extol developers to create more elegant, simple and practical designs which will hopefully benefit all users of the web. You are not designing for web browsers, you are designing for people. That is why all my source code is written with the express intention that it be enjoyed by humans.

But I am rather egotistical and I have an uncontrolled urge to toot my own horn too much. I do this because there just isn’t enough beautiful code on the web. I keep seeing opportunities for great semantic markup being blown. I keep seeing nice themes slapped onto a CMS that doesn’t care for the fact that ViewSource is a standard facility on browsers—and should be used.

Others just must not be as obsessive as I am.

He can be irrational about some things and rational about others.


I’m complex. It’s what humans are. I, like anybody, cannot be boiled down to one simple algorithm that explains the reasons behind every choice I make. You cannot rationalise people on the ’Web because it only represents, at most, half of them.

I am a proponent of the open web for selfish reasons only. I don’t want companies messing up my art. I want to be able to craft according to my tastes and want my canvases to start blank, not pre-populated with brands. I use Mac OS X instead of Linux because it’s less hassle and as mentioned earlier, computers are just tools and I’ll use something closed and proprietary if it means less hassle; as long as there’s an open alternative available to migrate to if the worst comes to the worst.

I believe that for the most part, you may as well just get the most out of the wonderful technology that’s available these days and pay no loyalty to any one company. They’re practically giving away this stuff and if you turn down everything in life because of freedom-fighting open principles then you’re forcing yourself to live in a digital cave. Living in caves proves points, but when I live in a cave, I don’t expect my customers to do so as well. I don’t have Flash installed, but I always install the latest version for customers (as well as ad-blocking :P). I don’t expect them to fight the same fight as me. They want things to just work.

When I Shift-deleted my Twitter I did so because of principles, but it was not the most practical thing to do. I don’t miss Twitter, I simply find it limiting that I can’t just pose a question to the Internet and get an answer from friends. My is dead and pointless in comparison.

I cannot change a closed ’Web into an open ’Web by forcing customers to suffer with inadequate choices they didn’t make. I will change a closed ’Web into an open ’Web by changing developers—and you should too.