Against beautiful journalism
Felix Salmon, in Reuters:
“Today, when you read a story at the New Republic, or Medium, or any of a thousand other sites, it looks great; every story looks great. Even something as simple as a competition announcement comes with a full-page header and whiz-bang scrollkit graphics. The result is a cognitive disconnect: why is the website design telling me that this short blog post is incredibly important, when in reality it’s just a blockquote and a single line of snark? All too often, when I visit a site like Slate or Quartz, I feel let down when I read something short and snappy — something which I might well have enjoyed, if it just took up a small amount of space in an old-fashioned reverse-chronological blog. The design raises my expectations, even as the writers are still expected to throw out a large number of quick takes on various subjects.”
Smart take on what online reading lacks: any clear differentiation between types of stories. For the most part, everything on a given site looks the same, unlike print where there are any number of clues about how much weight the editors/designers feel the content deserves.
That’s one thing I’ve tried to address here- some posts, like this one, have a smaller headline whereas others that I feel deserve more weight get a bigger font. It’s a small thing, but as you scroll hopefully it provides some clue about how important I feel it is.