Introduction To Web Sequins

Web Sequins

Web Sequins have been infesting and interestifying the Web almost since its inception. They can delight, astound and disgust us. They make us dream of the Web that could, but probably shouldn't, be...

What is a Web Sequin?

Let’s start with the concept of a Web Sequin: Like the much loved real-world sequins they are shiny and tacky and, despite our better judgment, can sometimes seem impressive at first glance.

Web Sequins are design elements or page widgets that utilise an existing technology in a creative, novel and terrifying new way.

They are not inherently bad - but merely a tool. And like pretty much all tools in the hands of the inexperienced, will be used for the purposes of evil, rather than good.

History of Web Sequins

Horrible mouse-trail effectWeb Sequins are not new - They were born out of badly written HTML and javascript tutorials from authors who themselves had little understanding of the underlying concepts set out by the Internet and Web creators.

Web Sequins of old range from simple text effects, to embedded javascript clocks, to window.status tricks - to the most mighty display of Web Sequinism to have ever hit the World Wide Web: Table-Based Layouts - an ingenious technique that used HTML tables in a creative, novel and terrifying new way.

Today’s Web Sequins, while semantically nicer, are generally shinier, and possibly more terrifying. But the renaming of DHTML to DOM Scripting coupled with our insatiable desire to find new meaning for old HTML tags, has validated Web Sequins and now we are in a position to really see them thrive.

Philosophy of The Web Sequin

Sequins share many of the ideals and philosophies of the Japanese concept of Chindogu: They provide an answer to a problem that has no question. They take an ordinary object and re-apply it in a creative, novel, and terrifying new way. And like Chindogu, once you understand how a Web Sequin works you will probably have no further use for it.

This is what determines a sequin's grandeur: If it is good, you don't know how it works until you view the source. If it is great, you don't know how it works even then.

The future of Web Sequins

These are exciting times for Web Sequins: Javascript effect libraries are gaining mass, and we have gotten people used to having to expand almost every paragraph they want to read using some crappy fade-in/accordion style effect. We never could have done that in the past! And brave attempts to turn the simple HTML browser into an RIA host could eventually challenge table-based layouts in sequiny ludicrousness.

But it's hard to predict; like cars of the future that were drawn in the '40s, things can end up very differently than expected.

One thing we do know though is that whenever a technology is there to be misused, we will misuse it - in creative, novel, and terrifying new ways.