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Slashdot's Vastu 386

nanopolitan writes "Wired has a story on harmonious website design according to Vastu, 'the Indian counterpart of feng shui'. The graphic accompanying the story has an analysis of Slashdot's design by Dr. Smita Narang. Her verdict? This site is 'in desperate need of balance'." From the article: "Thirty-year-old Smita Narang is rapidly becoming one of India's hottest Web designers. Her method: applying vastu shastra, the Indian counterpart of feng shui, to the online realm. The process entails mapping page attributes - HTML, colors, graphics - to elements like fire, water, and air. 'Any disturbance of these established elements can cause an imbalance in the site that directly affects its business,' Narang says."
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Slashdot's Vastu

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  • I thought it's funny and laughed.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I thought it was obnoxious and just goes to further the promotion of bullshit pseudoscience. You know, vastu shastra, like feng shui, is really nothing more than prescientific observations on how to situate a building so it doesn't get flooded, have dirt blown in by prevailing winds, etc (hence the 'feng' and 'shui' in feng shui). It makes this article all the more comical. Thankfully, everyone knows it's bullshit, so no one's listening to this jerk, right? ...Right? RIGHT?

      • by LilGuy (150110)
        Right. What does it matter if someone does? One less non-nerd on slashdot ;)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lemmy Caution (8378)
        Well, there's this thing that most nerds are really bad at. Even - perhaps especially - when they think they're being good at it (e.g., "skins".) It's called aesthetics.

        Feng shui and vastu and the like are, at least partially, non-western models for something that could generally be called aesthetic experience. There are also western models for aesthetics. One could even concieve of usability research as a kind of scientification of a subset of aesthetics.
  • Standards! (Score:5, Funny)

    by headkase (533448) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @02:47AM (#16620308)
    If he encourages the use of the blink tag I vote we brand him a heretic and burn him at the stake.
    I'm not kidding.
    • by cptgrudge (177113) <cptgrudge&gmail,com> on Saturday October 28, 2006 @03:17AM (#16620462) Journal

      I know "this thread is useless without pics" is a Slashdot faux pas, but calling this chick a dude is pretty harsh.

      • by mysticgoat (582871) * on Saturday October 28, 2006 @10:54AM (#16622622) Homepage Journal

        Irrespective of the gender confusion of parent, or the relative merits of using Vastu Shasta in preference to Feng Shui or one of the western astrological website balancing methods, this website designer needs some serious help:

        • 2 CSS errors, such that some elements of the design will not render the way intended
        • over 70 CSS warnings— enough to discourage anyone from taking this website as a serious authority on website implementation
        • total failure to validate under W3C standards-- since the website is not written in standard HTML but in a bastardized variant of HTML issued by HoTMetaL in 1997.

        A website designer needs to be held to a very high standard of compliance. This website designer fails it.

        This post deserves to be modded as very, very funny...

  • by Chas (5144) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @02:47AM (#16620312) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, all crap like this is, is a way to justify stupid expenditures based on some self-riteous asshole's personal opinions.

    Only people with double-digit IQ or a severe case of money poisoning actually listen to these jackasses.
    • by cptgrudge (177113)

      Me an' me bro...uh...Cletus went thar' an' won that thar' lottury.

      Momma, she says, "Boys, you best git on' them thar' web saytes up an' stuff."

      So, I'd a' like that thar' newslittur your have.

    • by macadamia_harold (947445) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @04:23AM (#16620756) Homepage
      And like feng shui, IT'S BULLSHIT!

      While the explanations claiming "energies" for Feng Shui may not be correct, the human psychology behind it is. Those same principles may or may not be applicable with regards to web design, but don't discount entirely that which you clearly do not understand.
      • by Chas (5144) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @04:54AM (#16620896) Homepage Journal
        "While the explanations claiming "energies" for Feng Shui may not be correct, the human psychology behind it is."

        Yeah. There's a sucker born every minute.

        "Those same principles may or may not be applicable with regards to web design, but don't discount entirely that which you clearly do not understand."

        Yeah. And my cash-mishandling invisible man in the sky who is going to sentence me to eternity of fire and brimstone and suffering...but loves me can beat up yours too!

        The problem is, I DO understand it. This is why I call it like I see it. Bullshit. First to last.
      • by FuryG3 (113706)
        Agreed, it can go either way. I know someone who is an "amateur" and goes around helping people with their living spaces (and does quite a good job), but there are some serious "pro" nut-jobs who I wouldn't let into my house normally.

        There was some show (was it Bullshit?) where they selected 3 different Feng Shui consultants to come into a house and redecorate it. It was expected that, if this is a Science, they would come to similar conclusions regarding what the layout should be. At the very least, th
    • Same goes for believing in Santa, only this is targeted to an older audience. I'd call it bullshit too, yet I do not wish to offend harmless and innocent bullshit.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by blu3 b0y (908852)
      How can attention to good composition be bullshit?

      Will putting a water fountain in a "harsh corner" improve your finances? Of course not, not in a direct causitive way.

      Does living in a shithole make you less motivated and less likely to attract friends and influential people to help you make money? Fuckin A right it does.

      So, does paying attention to your surroundings and having a well-put together harmonious environment overall improve your life? How could it not?

      Only people with a double-digit IQ b

      • by Chas (5144)
        "How can attention to good composition be bullshit?"

        Attention to good composition isn't bullshit. It's a variable with millions of opinions on "correctness".

        This isn't even that. We start talking about "aligning with fire and earth....", you get the idea.

        But if they left the pseudomystical psychobabble out, it'd just be another boring talk about good composition. But NOOO! It's VASTU!

        *Waves hands, wiggles fingers, and pops eyes out*


        Spare me...
    • by deathshadow60 (934271) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @05:31AM (#16620984) Homepage
      ANYONE who does web coding should see right through this bullshit - a simple examination of the jokers website [] Should send up warning signs to ANY but the greenest of nubes. The 'three piece' image (WHY the hell do people do this?!?) isn't compatable with Opera or Safari... the three 'section boxes' to the right of the image have some of the ugliest formatting I've seen (It's called side padding - use it! At the same time cut back on the top/bottom, that looks like crap)... The site renders as a crappy little stripe justified left (Much like wired, it's not bad enough having a shitbox amatuer fixed width layout, but for crying out loud center the damned thing)... fixed px sized fonts that are too small to be useful to 'large font' users... (anything LESS than 12px needs a brick upside the head, and I'm hesitant to go below 'EGA fonts' - 14px) and the validator chokes on the doctype... Seriously whiskey tango foxtrot is this nonsense: Wow, I wish I'd thought of finding some whack-job eastern art form to use as justification for a lack of knowing how to design a website... My BULLSHIT alarm hasn't gone off this hardcore since I first heard of "Web 2.0" ... and much like Web 2.0, Penn and Teller could easily devote 30 minutes to this one.
    • by suv4x4 (956391)

      Seriously, all crap like this is, is a way to justify stupid expenditures based on some self-riteous asshole's personal opinions.

      Only people with double-digit IQ or a severe case of money poisoning actually listen to these jackasses.

      I vote this post "Irony of 2006". You rant for people who fall for easy scams based on personal opinion, and then refer to people's "IQ", otherwise known as "someone's totally subjective opinion of how intelligence should be measured".

      Really, a huge bunch of those suckers paying

    • by Megane (129182)

      You forgot the obligatory link. []

      P&T did a show on Feng Shui in which no two of the three "experts" came up with the same answers about how to arrange the furniture. There's only one place Feng Shui works, and that's in Nintendo's Animal Crossing game.

  • Page length (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 28, 2006 @02:49AM (#16620322)
    Wtf .. she called it a negative .. I like a long page length .. seriously who the heck wants to click through multiple pages??

    People who advocate short page lengths probably don't use the web for information.

    And yes I think google should default to 100 results .. why not?
    • Re:Page length (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Danse (1026) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @03:23AM (#16620484)
      Wtf .. she called it a negative .. I like a long page length .. seriously who the heck wants to click through multiple pages??

      People who advocate short page lengths probably don't use the web for information.

      Gotta agree with that. People who want multiple pages are usually trying to pump ad views. This chick just seems to want to make things pretty, or her version of pretty anyway. I guess if you can spout BS well enough to sound knowledgeable, people will throw money at you. Serves no useful purpose to anyone else, but must be nice.
    • Re:Page length (Score:4, Insightful)

      by anagama (611277) <> on Saturday October 28, 2006 @03:34AM (#16620562) Homepage
      You've got my vote as well. It seems to me that the shorter the page, the more devoid it is of content. Scrolling down works incredibly well with monitors -- it might be a hassle with actual paper but the web doesn't always have to be a metaphor for the physical world.
      • by TeknoHog (164938)
        Scrolling down works incredibly well with monitors -- it might be a hassle with actual paper but the web doesn't always have to be a metaphor for the physical world.

        Right on! Another paper-based oddity that I'd like to get rid of is the use of black text on white background. If you use a CRT and read such pages, you could be just as well staring at a light bulb.

        • by dangitman (862676)
          Uggh. White text on a black background looks horrible. Other colour combinations are equally ineffective. I, for one, am glad we have progressed beyond the days of green text on a black background. Perhaps you have your monitor turned up too bright?
          • by TeknoHog (164938)

            I, for one, am glad we have progressed beyond the days of green text on a black background. Perhaps you have your monitor turned up too bright?

            On the other hand, you could argue that we have progressed beyond the days of paper and ink, and we are no longer restricted by that technology's color combination. It's great that we can choose the colors to our liking; I don't particularly like green on black, but grey or cyan on black is quite nice.

            Somehow I don't like the idea that background color should

        • by fbjon (692006)
          Are you joking? Turn on the lights in your room so the ambient light is of the same intensity as the monitor. If you put a paper and a monitor side-by-side, you'll find the brightness of white areas is the same. There's a reason for the common recommendation to turn on the lights, ya know.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by klang (27062)
      In web design there are two schools: "The Card Sharks" and "The Holy Scrollers".

      Both schools have advantages and disadvantages. The specifics will always be root for discussion between webdesigners.
    • by Alef (605149)
      Wtf .. she called it a negative .. I like a long page length .. seriously who the heck wants to click through multiple pages??

      Possibly, she could have meant that we post way too many uninsightful comments...

  • Penn and Teller (Score:5, Informative)

    by Konster (252488) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @02:51AM (#16620332)
    Penn and Teller had a decent show on Feng Shui, and I agree with with their conclusion.

    It's all bullshit!

    Just like the subject of this news post.

    • Re:Penn and Teller (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 28, 2006 @03:31AM (#16620544)
      Being something of a sinophile, and the owner of a modest library on feng shui, let me digest what it really says.

      Don't live so close to water that it washes your house away. Don't live so far away from water that it's an inordinate pain in the ass to get. Don't live close to the edges of cliffs which might collapse, or which you might fall off of. Do live in a location where your dwelling has as much protection from the elements as possible. But putting it directly in the path of the tree that looks kind of rotted and is about to fall it probably a bad idea too. Don't shit where you eat or are likely to drink. The sun is bright and hot, avoid suffering it unnecessarily. But the sun is also helpful, make sure you've got enough of it.

      All it is are a set of building codes set to a spiritual narrative that's supposed to make it easy to remember. A smart person with good aesthetic sensibilities is required to make it work. Well compensated professionals in Asia, they get paid because they have some measure of the later, and more than some skill blending Confusian sensibilities with modern needs and tastes. The people on Bullshit! that's not what they're doing. They're banking on the ignorance of others.

      The real tenents, with the mysticism striped away, they make a lot of sense to me. Except for the living underneath a rotting tree thing. Look, you buy the home you can afford.
  • by The Famous Druid (89404) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @02:55AM (#16620352)
    ... that the average /. poster is 'unbalanced'.
  • Windows (Score:5, Funny)

    by Konster (252488) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @02:57AM (#16620360)
    Windows Vastu.

    It's clear that Microsoft's GUI designers have been smoking some pretty serious weed and studying arcane bullshit notions and ologies of myth when you use Vista or IE7.
    • Thanks a fucking lot, my 2-month-old kid was finally falling asleep now that it's nearly five in the morning, and then you had to go and write what you did.

      I suggest submitting the name change recommendation to Microsoft along with a suggestion that the default skin should paint everything with orange gradients.

  • by Ksempac (934247) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @02:57AM (#16620362)
    Of course Slashdot's Vistu is bad...The site is full of the Dark Spirits of No-life Geeks and Noob-bashers. ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 28, 2006 @02:57AM (#16620364) []

    "When houses, restauants, shops, shopping centers can be made according to the ancient science of Vastu Shastra then why cann't the Websites also follow the same rules"

    -Dr. Smita Jain Narang

    Gee .. I dunno maybe cuz .. CAUSE IT'S AS UGLY AS GORILLA ORANGUTAN BALLS!!

    (btw, what's a "restauant"?)
  • While I agree that Slashdot is ugnly as sin, that has to be the worst "evaulation" I've read in a long time.

    The page should have less articles so it's "proportionate"? What do they think it is, a book?
  • Erk, has anyone taken a look at Dr. Narang's website, The fusion of two sciences, Web Vastu []?
    • by Konster (252488)
      LOL, good spot. She needs to apply some vastu to her site, or perhaps just a soothing balm.

      LAFF at "The fusion of two sciences" bit on there.
    • by interiot (50685)

      GGAAHH, that site is far from perfect.

      Press Section []: multiple videos autoplay, forcing you to either mute you speakers or rapidly click all the pause buttons.

      The three boxes ("About the book", "What is...", and "How to order") don't have enough black border around them. But more importantly, they look very similar to Google AdSense ads, and the positioning on certain pages makes this illusion worse. So you eye ends up automatically tuning out the most important content.

      The red background is at leas

    • by Ash-Fox (726320) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @03:28AM (#16620514)
      Erk, has anyone taken a look at Dr. Narang's website, The fusion of two sciences, Web Vastu?
      It reminds me of Powerpoint presentations from '97.

      *Shivers* So.. cold..
    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      That site wins the Grand Jesus_666 Prize for Most Useless Fusion Since The 5.1-Bladed Razor. Congratulations.

      By the way, that site is good for you. It makes you avert your eyes from the screen in disgust, thus giving them a break from staring at it for hours. Thus it belongs in the same category of ergonomic goodness as Goatse.
  • by Demiansmark (927787) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @03:08AM (#16620422) Homepage

    Assuming that the site for the book ( []) was done according to the principles within it I don't see what this text could offer. My knee-jerk reaction to the aesthetics of the site is that it looks as if it were done using the Frontpage WYSIWYG in 1997. Looking at the HTML the site uses table based design, has presentation markup in the html, and contains a host of other minor errors (i.e. uppercase tags). The CSS []) is a mess and demonstrates a lack of understanding of modern 'best practices'.

    I might be able to accept the idea of some people using such a whishy-washy approach to design if the end product could stand on its own but that's not what I'm seeing by any measure.

    • by MikeFM (12491)
      The only point I'd give her for her review of Slashdot is the left hand column. (Is that supposed to be some kind of menu?) I've been using Slashdot for years and still dislike that column - it just seems kind of a crammed together kludge. I dunno if it has to much air in it though.. we better check the pressure gauge.

      Overall, I think Slashdot is well designed though and it's upgrade is pretty good. It's an informational site that has stood the test of time and many many users. That's more than most site's
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by KZigurs (638781)
      The funny thing is that the page has this as DTD:
      !DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//SoftQuad//DTD HoTMetaL PRO 4.0::19971010::extensions to HTML 4.0//EN" "hmpro4.dtd"
  • by bushboy (112290) <> on Saturday October 28, 2006 @03:21AM (#16620476) Homepage

    Yes, it's a picture of beauty which adapts web standards from, er, well from a few years back really.
    The site looks like a large blob of curry stains, but boy, is it ever harmonious, with the use of white text on a curry brown background !

    Note how the footer is in black italic text and how the whole construct is cunningly created in tables!

    Note the subtle use of a ruddy great drop shadow on the logo!

    Hear the stunning web page background music when you visit the news page - that sounds like it's playing out of a toilet after a heavy nights drinking in a curry den.

    Yes, folks, it's a far better layout than Slashdot, indeed.

    After all, who needs good design when you've got Webvastu !

    It's harmonious darnit, because we all love muddy brown websites!
  • The graphics and sans serif font induce good Water flow.

    So will several cups of tea or several glasses of beer.

    (As for "...Rob Malda chose an excellent URL, even though it's confusing when read aloud", one wonders why the good doctor thinks the domain name was chosen in the first place.)

    What I really want to know is what Web Vastu says about loading up your page with stupid Flash animations so that when you go to a new page, the page slowly drops down or slides in or rolls down, or the letters fly into p

  • Says it all really (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kangburra (911213) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @03:42AM (#16620600) [] says Result: Failed validation

    If you can't get that right you've got no chance.
  • What a load of bollocks. What follows next is the sales pitch to glue some special crystals into the web server to help it reverberate with only good juju, like a cosmic drum ... or whatever.

    These are pretty tall words coming from someone with such a shitty website, too; [] needs more gradients, larger leading, more fonts, narrower columns, and definitely more orange. Especially the orange. For a special treat, disable style sheets: accessibility++. I would make some statement about

    • by mrjb (547783)
      I would make some statement about karma here but (A) I don't know the Indian-equivalent term
      Correct me if I'm wrong but I think the term Karma originated in India. So I'd say the Indian term for Karma is Karma.
  • According to her analysis, the ideal slashdot web design is this [].
  • Nah.. Slashdot isn't unbalanced it's dynamically stabilised, just like a Segway!
  • [] - the page is horrendous, I certainly hope people don't adapt her style too much!
    • by RKBA (622932)
      Especially the crappy full justification of the too narrow column containing info about the author.
  • by saikou (211301) on Saturday October 28, 2006 @04:29AM (#16620798) Homepage
    Relying on someone whose design is somewhat scary and made in glaring colors only (yes, there is an audience for sites like that, no, I don't think tech people would be fond of permanently blazing colors), has no sense of space and prefers to mush things together and applying arbitrary set of rules to all sites no matter what the target audience is. It's like asking Paris Hilton to design work clothes for a fireman.
    Plus, even that short recommendation is full off weirdness.

    A) Instability of "horizontal layout" is stupid. Put the pencil down horizontally. Is it unstable? How about standing on it's end?

    B) In case of established site URL does not matter, so this point does not apply. If people know that site has interesting stuff on it, they will put a bookmark or remember the address. Easy to type ones are good for radio/tv commercials

    C) Yellow? Even CNET toned down their yellow colors lately. Say hello to the world of Taxi Web sites? Green and blue are present as main elements. So... off the point

    D) What little graphics there is it's actually not the best feature of the Slashdot :) Logo is squished, icons are a bit scary, though been around for so long people are used to them

    E) I wonder if she never reads anything that is more than 2-3 pages long. Or has that obsessive clicky-clicky-syndrome where person wants, no, needs to click on something NOW! Hence desire to split everything into tiny pages and users that have to use tricks (such as "Print this page") to re-assemble stuff back. Again, technical field pretty much demands more text than, say, some short poems collections

    F) About the footer... She has to wear bell-bottoms then ;) ALWAYS! Because footer needs to be thick. Frankly many pages have no footer at all. Footer and footnotes can't be overloaded as that means "footnote" becomes primary content. These days footers are pretty much reserved for stuff that makes legal department happy. Of course Slashdot has links in the footer too ;)

    Conclusion: more bullshit than usual, less design and pretty things than one'd think. Slow news day at Wired. Slashdot is not for the customers of Vastu-fied sites (but *gasp!* you already know that ;) )
  • Here is a nice one for this Vastu person: []

  • A lot of /. readers are full of hot air, so I think Smita is right in saying that there is "too much air flow" in /.
  • Vastu (Score:2, Informative)

    by slack_prad (942084)
    Vastu is more like a set of guidelines. Almost every house in India is built in accordance with it. It's more like: The main entrance being in a particular direction, enough light being in the house etc.,

    Even though some follow these 'rules' religiously now, I think they were primarily established to promote good atmosphere/convenience by the ancient people who set it.

    And there are always people who try to make money off it, by scaring people into believing that 'something bad' might happen if it isn't f

  • It lets too many marketing scams on its front page. I mean, why would Slashdot be offended by someone insults their design, and yet designs sites like this one [].

    This 1995 style homepage with terrible code in desparate need of a complete rewrite.

    Yet, she/he (?) just said "Slashdot is out of balance" and you fall for it. I wouldn't post this obvious-things-your-already-know post, if it wasn't happening all the time.

    Just few days ago we have a book review article here, of someone who believes good web design in
    • by Dunbal (464142)
      Yet, she/he (?) just said "Slashdot is out of balance" and you fall for it.

            No we don't. It seems most people are actually making fun of her.
  • Water flow harmony? on a fucking website? Sweet Zombie Jesus...
  • Checkout The press section [] of that webvastu site; and be knocked out with 3 or more movies/sounds playing alltogether at once ...

    It drives me nuts... For so far balance to the mind ;)
  • ...using Google, and the best I could come up with is this. [] It's an absolutely ugly reddish, brownish, yellowish turd of a web site. Is that the ideal we are supposed to be striving for? Does anybody see the irony in trying to hawk a book about web design using an ugly website?
  • Almost all the blue prints for new building go through a Vastu consultant who makes sagely pronouncements like, "The place to eat should not be in southwest quadrant", "The sleeping quarters should not be directly connected to the entrance" and many other rules. Many Indian owned software companies actually send blueprints to India and get modified by these Vastu experts. One case I know personally the Vastu expert objected to the boardroom door opening from left to right and demanded it be changed. When it

The goal of science is to build better mousetraps. The goal of nature is to build better mice.