Illustrator/Designer Frank Chimero challenges the “vertical scroll”:
We take scrolling for granted today. It’s like running water or Friends reruns: they’ve always been there and they always will be there. And we like them well enough. But, it is an interesting mental exercise to actually consider scrolling as part of a continuum of solutions in solving the same problem.
This dovetails nicely with Rex’s thinking in his Mediaite design. But the real game changer is the arrival of the iPad. As we move away from the mouse pointer and scroll wheel, designers should revisit old assumptions, and embrace the horizontal.
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.
I love Matt Jacob’s just launched redesign. Bright and fresh, with cool jquery charts, archives that mashup photos and posts, and some Typekit.
Congrats, Matt! If only things didn’t look so stale around here.
Rex Sorgatz on the design of Mediaite, Dan Abrams’s new media website:
…‘horizontal sites’ build a new kind of importance hierarchy. Designers don’t realize it, but unaligned vertical stacks are a remnant of the way that newspapers were designed—in columns, up and down. These new layouts are more like movie screens and wide monitors, with action moving left and right.
A very simple, but potentially evolutionary step in our understanding of how readers can best scan and make sense of content.
Jeff Veen announced Typekit today, a hosted solution for embedding fonts on the web:
We’ve been working with foundries to develop a consistent web-only font linking license. We’ve built a technology platform that lets us to host both free and commercial fonts in a way that is incredibly fast, smoothes out differences in how browsers handle type, and offers the level of protection that type designers need without resorting to annoying and ineffective DRM.
@font-face CSS at-rule support will come to all major browsers, so use of non-traditional web fonts will increase. If this catches on, the web in 2010 might look a lot different than it does now—I wonder who will be the first major online content provider to use it?
On Redesigning the Front Page of Talking Points Memo »
Al Shaw talks about some of the design considerations and technical wizardry that went into the face lift of the Liberal-leaning politics blog. Be sure to watch the video demo of the ajaxy front page CMS editor.