I really do like some websites


Snowboard related sites can be awesome. Sometimes they combine modern web standards, useful Flash, up-to-date content and so on. Other times they completely blow it in cases where, to borrow huphtur’s words, “the execution is straight out of 1996″. Yeah, it’s like that in any industry — some companies get it, some don’t.

But like I mentioned yesterday, it’s just snowboarding. Does it really matter? Sure, I notice all the intricacies of how a site is built and what I can and can’t stand about it, but does the average shred that spends study hall looking at these sites give a damn if it takes three minutes for a Flash movie to load and then when they find that killer board for the season they can’t send a link to their homies as long as they are rewarded with some beats and slick animation? Do any of these shreds actually need the accessibility advantages of not building a whole site in one big Flash movie? Do people look at snowboard company sites on their phones? Does the content really need to be search engine friendly? And so on. I have no idea. I of course say yes but I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m in a minority on this one. If your site has board specs, Google should be able to find them. If your site has team rider interviews/bios, Google should be able to find them. And I should be able to get to them quickly and easily.

My perspective on the snowboarding industry is that it’s all about appearance. If your company looks cool and says cool things, kids will think it’s cool and buy your stuff. If cool to these kids is Flash, then that’s what is going to sell. There’s just no reason web standards principles can’t be combined with impressing kids more often.

The exception to the “it’s just snowboarding, does it really matter” idea is the online homes of the magazines. When your main purpose is to provide content, it better be accessible on a cellphone from the lift line.

On a side note, I’m really looking forward to the backlash the return of Cappel is likely to see.


  1. matches 20050721

    I’m going to bring up the Hot Crew here, a site that you so graciously brought to my attention, as evidence that maybe (?) the trend is moving away from Flash to a more practical mixed content type of deal. By giving their designers a (public) blog, Sole Tech as practically put up a giant billboard that says “we like standards”. And kids going there may be all like “what’s standards?” or “hey, I can actually bookmark this page” all while being like “hey, these are good-looking sites.” The ease of use Sole Tech’s sites have could mark a shift in the whole Flash trend, because they’re cool without being Flash. I also like your point about phones because I think a lot of people, even if they don’t do that now, will be browsing their internerds on the chairlift and that will also be a push away from Flash. Finally,with the popularity of blogs, it’s almost mandatory that standards come along with that, just because the popularity of css and the popularity of blogs seems to have happened at the same time, which is actually a great thing.

  2. waytoocrowded 20050721

    I don’t think the kids have the chance to be all like “what’s standards?” — it’s not like the Hot Crew or standards is advertised on Etnies or És or any of their other sites. But maybe kids will notice certain sites just seem to work automagically and gravitate towards those site and their content. And maybe other companies will notice their competitions’ sites just work and decide they want in on the fun.

    There are definitely other examples out there of good skate/snow snow sites, but I decided not to get into linking a bunch of sites because the ratio of good to bad just made me sad. Interesting to see once all the new snow sites are launched if that ratio shifts at all from last year.

  3. matches 20050721

    There was a ton of participation in the CSS Reboot in its very first year, and that gives me some hope. But you’re right, (most) kids don’t care about how stuff works as long as it does.

    But the new options available for viewing will demand a more flexible way of delivering data. And flexible is standards’ middle name.

    Standards Flexible Happiness.

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