Don’t avoid a project’s technical requirements. Embrace them. Enjoy the focus they provide and the ideas they inspire.
This text is from Myspace’s “Library” page (which I suppose is the page to find all the songs, friends, and whatever you like) when you login for the first time:
You don’t have any connections. Check out the Discover page to connect to people and content that inspires you
Here is what the page looks like:
Let’s list the problems:
Overall, there is an incredible lack of clarity about just what Myspace is. And since this can’t even be explained clearly in their introductory tutorial text, I imagine the company is just as clueless with this new thing they made.
And honestly, I am a little disappointed. I sign up for every single new social networking site (hell, I even have a Microsoft Socl account), because you never know what will be the great next thing.
Once upon a time we asked people why they would go to Facebook, when we already all have Myspace. But Facebook came along with a clearer focus we understood, and we all waved bye bye to Myspace. And Myspace still hasn’t learned their lesson.
So remember everybody, copywriting is interface design. And every word helps influence the way visitors flow through your website. Something tells me after looking at the new Myspace most visitors are just going to flow right back to Facebook.
Some months ago, OregonLive (the online arm of Portland’s Oregonian newspaper) unveiled a new design. Overall, the design is decent enough and feels pretty good for a local news site. However, since day one, there has been one thing that has driven me mad, and that thing is the use of the font Prelo Slab.
As far as slab serif fonts go, Prelo Slab is fairly nice. However, it only works well as a large display type face. Unfortunately, it is unreadable and hard to scan at smaller sizes, which you see the OregonLive site use everywhere.
Being an avid, and occasionally rabid, news consumer, I realize the importance of making news sites scannable and easing the strain on a reader’s eyes. Prelo Slab makes the reader struggle much to hard to simply scan a headline. And once you have a list of headlines, it becomes just a flat out bad design and user experience choice.
So here is my suggestion for OregonLive.
Here is how the site currently stands:
Prelo Slab is so heavy your eye fills in all the counter spaces with black which makes it hard for your eye to distinguish individual letters.
My suggestion is to simply replace the usage of Prelo Slab with Helvetica (Arial as a fallback) on all article headlines. It is fine to use Prelo Slab for section headlines, such as where it says “Oregon Local News” and “Latest Stories”. The font size on the section headlines is large enough to gain the benefits of Prelo Slab as a nice display font.
Here is what my suggestion looks like:
So OregonLive, this is all I ask of you. Simply change your content H2 and H3 styles to a font that will encourage your readers to scan and read even more. I will be happier, and many readers who may not be completely aware of why will be happier too.
Originally posted on Waggener Edstrom’s blogs
In my last post, I discussed how design is purely a tool. So I thought it was only fitting I should discuss some of the other tools us designers use.
One of the most exciting aspects of working in the world of web design is the fact any two designers can use vastly different tools to create the same end result. We tend to somewhat jokingly chuckle every time someone says, “What program do you use? Because I have the Dreamweavers at home too.” When the reality is that our team uses a huge variety of tools and apps to get the job done by whatever means necessary. These are some of the tools in the toolbox that our team regularly returns too:
Tyler Green just called the Walker Art Center’s new website a “game changer”, and he couldn’t be more correct.
The newspaper style allows the Walker site to have a journalistic focus no other art museum has accomplished with their website. It features articles, and even excerpts from show catalogs, which makes this the first time I have ever Instapapered an art museum website. This is an excellent start and I am anxious to see if they can maintain the pace.
I have long hated art museum websites. The sites are often as mausoleum-like as their collections, and the website offerings usually don’t move any further beyond their own interests than reporting exhibitions info and the occasional event announcement. The Walker is actually making itself apart of the contemporary art discussion, and I predict all other museums will begin to copy this format from here on out.
Hopefully this leads to a whole plethora of art museums creating articles and content actually worth Instapapering.
While our initial impressions aren’t overwhelmingly positive, this is a device that has some serious potential.