On Working With Limitations In Web-Design

The web-design industry has always faced limitations that get designers frustrated as they work around them. Without actually knowing these limitations, you cannot properly design and achieve what you or your client may be after. Therefore, understanding the limitations of the industry and your own limitations can help you expand and work around them and is a key point that cannot be disregarded.

When you think of web-design and what has been achieved already, it becomes difficult to understand whether there are limitations available or not, and what they are that are hindering our abilities that you may not know already. In fact, many designers do not fully understand many of the limitations, but actually work around them indirectly. Let’s cover some limitations that exist today in web-design that hinders our ability of expansion and creativity.

Color Palette

Color Palette
One of the limitations known to web-designers is the use colors whether in images or typography. Colors affect the way our websites appear and what really makes all the content contrast and or make it aesthetically pleasing. However, as web-designers, the color palette we choose must be in a comfort or safe zone for the many affecting elements that can cause our design to be a win or a loss in different situations.

Now we are not just referencing the color limitations of the displays of each device (screen, mobile, etc…), but additionally the many elements users may modify such as brightness and other factors.

For designers, these limitations that hinder our color palette selection do affect the outcome of our designs. For example, going with bright colors for your design may look good on your device or display, but may be too bright under other displays and vice versa. Therefore, when creating the color palette for your designs, make sure you select colors that are flexible and can be exceptional under different displays and brightness.

Limitations in Typography

Typography is like the icing on a cake, without proper typography selection, your website’s appeal may fall to many visitors, making your website less visited than its anticipated potential. However, selecting your favorite typefaces may not work as easy as you thought as each computer or platform varies in typography or font support.

Due to this limitation in font support, many designers have led to performing many workarounds and techniques to dodge it. Most of these techniques involve CSS3, Flash or Javascript, like sIFR, Cufon or some the newer alternatives like @font-face, Typekit and FontDeck.

Some use fallback techniques while others go for the whole nine yards and develop systems that utilize the typography they want by using it directly from the server (@font-face). Whichever method you precede with, it is always good to understand this limitation before proceeding with a solution as many new designers do not actually know this as a limitation, but later on learn it through experience.

Learning the basic limitations as you go along is sometimes not a good method to proceed with as it does affect the outcome of your work in the long run. The key is to learn to adapt around them as you go along in the learning process.

Should We Create Workarounds?


This is a big question that arises in the industry, whether to live with the limitations that exist, or to begin to innovate new workarounds to try to achieve what we are after.

Before actually diving into creating workarounds, it is key to understand many limitations of web-design and or the industry itself, as this is key to understanding whether a workaround you may be innovating can or cannot succeed or if it is in fact beneficial for the project or not.

For example, many web-designers were not satisfied with the end result of somewhat pixilated typography due to no anti-aliasing feature available in CSS (now available in CSS3). Therefore, they resulted to creating workarounds by creating scripts that convert the text typography into images that contain the anti-aliased text. The drop back to this was the longer load times it added to the website as well as the use of more resources; however, some deemed it worthwhile. Therefore, it is to your benefit to overlook at the advantages and disadvantages your workaround may bring, before bringing it into play.

The Rise in Minimalism in Design

Minimalistic design is a trend that is ever increasing in popularity.

The idea behind minimalistic design is to eliminate any complexities to a design and to make it simple, elegant, and minimal in the use of technologies and content.

For example, many minimalistic designs eliminate any pattern or gradient background images and replace it with a solid color that is light to make the content standout and the main focus. Others tend to use color contrasts and hierarchy techniques for the typography to emphasize on important text and provide a better page flow. In addition, minimalistic design is all about eliminating many graphical icons and images that make the design otherwise crowded.


A many designers begin to phase out on creating workarounds for limitations, we will definitely see that new trending design patterns and categories such as minimalistic design appear while others excel to create workarounds others may have not seen before.

Thus, the question that arises on whether to accept the limitations the industry provides and use what is available to create stunning designs, or to focus on defeating these limitations is really up to each individual’s goals.

However, the key to understanding the industry and to maximize your creativity level is to understand current limitations, and to prepare for the future expansion and new technologies that will be brought to the table, and a perfect example for this would be HTML5 and CSS3. Designers that prepared for them have already excelled and understood them well, while others are still catching and grasping onto the concept, and are hesitant to expand.

Your Turn To Talk

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About the author:

GrindSmart Magazine is an adventurous blog that focuses on web development articles within a wide range of topics which aim to inform and challenge the minds. Follow GrindSmart on Twitter here.


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