Monthly Archive for February, 2010

Life Below ‘The Fold’

Irish designer Paddy Donnelly, in a nicely-designed article, attempts to subvert the accepted wisdom of the page fold:

The fold is one of those guidelines that has been thrown about so much that it’s now become a ‘rule’ of web design (or maybe more appropriately a ‘ball and chain’ of web design) with web designers blindly obeying without question…

If everything of exceptional quality is pushed upon the reader at the beginning, once they start exploring and the rest of the site isn’t of the same calibre, they’re going to be let down.

I agree—scroll below the fold on most large-scale web sites, and the quality diminishes as you move down the page. I don’t know if that’s because too much attention is paid to ‘the fold’ myth, or because most web sites have a vertical up-and-down ‘rail’ structure… or, if we’re just bad designers.

People scroll. People read left-to-right. We should design for these rules.

Actual Objects

Actual Objects provides elegant royalty-free (and reasonably priced) design and illustration assets by Matt Owens and the Athletics crew, here in Brooklyn.

Royalty-Free Illustration from actualobjects.com

Screen shot on Flickr

My talented colleague Jason Bishop worked together with Matt on the economic bailout collection, seen above, and two other sets. The two have previously collaborated for some of the great infographics in GOOD Magazine.

New Capndesign.com

I love Matt Jacob’s just launched redesign. Bright and fresh, with cool jquery charts, archives that mashup photos and posts, and some Typekit.

New Capndesign.com

Screen shot

Congrats, Matt! If only things didn’t look so stale around here.

Packer & Bilton, on Twitter

It’s been fun following the debate between the Times Bits blogger Nick Bilton, and New Yorker staff writer George Packer, on whether Twitter is a godsend, or a harbinger of doom.

Packer opened with a declaration that he’s old school:

I don’t have a BlackBerry, or an iPhone, or a Google phone, and I don’t intend to get an iPad. I’ve been careful not to mention this to sources in Washington, where conversation consists of two people occasionally glancing up from their BlackBerries and saying, ‘I’m listening.’

After pointing out recent news stories that Twitter had a hand in breaking—Iran, Haiti, Obama’s Election—Bilton fires back:

…when trains were a new technology 150 years ago, some journalists and intellectuals worried about the destruction that the railroads would bring to society…

I wonder if, 150 years ago, Mr. Packer would be riding the train at all, or if he would have stayed home, afraid to engage in an evolving society and demanding that the trains be stopped.

Ouch. One gets the sense that there is some kind of generational clash going on here. Packer tries again:

If a Luddite is someone who fears and hates all technological change, a Biltonite is someone who celebrates all technological change: because we can, we must.

George is asking the right questions, but it’s hard to disagree with Bilton’s point—by refusing to participate in social media, he’s missing part of the story… you can’t bury your head in the sand and expect to keep up.