Certainly, simplifying all presentation would, indeed, resolve many coding issues. Just as dispensing with content would likewise eliminate much substantive confusion! And, also likewise, no less purpose defeating. Which well illustrates why it is so frequently recommended that, often, a good critique must, one way or another, either sympathetically or argumentatively, seek, at all, to address the author's intent at all, rather than simply disregarding it, in order to be at all relevant or of any much use.
Moreover, just as more elaborate pages draw howls for old-school simplicity, likewise simpler ones disappoint modern expectations of more impressive presentation.
As artistic design and redesign is ongoing, esthetic debate is encouraged. But Esthetic perception and in and of itself remains separate question. Gaudiness and garishness, for example, obviously present questions of Esthetics and preference. But do such qualities as gaudiness and/or garishness alone and in and of themselves constitute a usability issue any more than, say, ornamental beauty or personal charm? One might as well complain that content at all, let alone style, is a distraction from the pristine purity of HTML in it's own right! And one would rather hope that it would be...
But what about, say, cluttered Vs uncluttered? Is that an Esthetic or a usability issue? That depends whether we speak, for example, of a richly cluttered appearance or a confusing arrangement of of information or interface controls. The former would have to be an Esthetic question while the latter is clearly and distinctly a usability issue. Please click the link to address usability issues.
Webdesign should be suited to function or content and even to artistic vision for it's own sake. Outside of such appropriate context, the topic of Webdesign remains largely unedifying. So, please, by all means, let us discourse upon Esthetics, but as such, and distinctly. Please do not expand one topic to include the other, as that constitutes deliberate and malicious nonsense, relentlessly subverting discussion even of real function let alone actual content.
If there is any reasoning behind whatever Webdesign guidelines (including interface and navigation) that anyone has to offer, then sensible discourse may be amenable. But this inevitably taxing, going as it does, beyond beta testing and support while still falling short of response to function let alone content.
And this is why response to navigation interface and such is only really useful from site visitors who have at least attempted to access content in accordance with function, and only in such context, in a coherent user story or trouble report.
For example, expressions of how an interface made one feel remain somewhat puzzling as to whatever specific problems encountered and by which steps in whatever path or process. The proverbial blind men, however moved or impressed, need to know that they are examining the same part of the metaphorical elephant!
Copyright Aaron Agassi 2002-2003