Monday, January 31, 2011

Reading Response: Web Design is 95% Typography

Web Design is 95% Typography draws parallels between the job of a web designer and information designer. The connecting line consists of optimizing typography. It asks for readability, accessibility, and usability. Although a consideration, pixel fonts, low resolution or even choice of a typeface does not excuse bad typography. It states that a good web designer will treat text as an interface.
"It is the typographer’s task to divide up and organize and interpret this mass of printed matter in such a way that the reader will have a good chance of finding what is of interest to him."
Oliver Riechenstein expands on this in the follow up article, Reactions to 95% Typography, in which he states that the idea of text as a user interface was framed by Cameron Moll. The use of the grid is extremely important in this process but easy usability can fail in the creation of a successful website. (Text lines are too long, no thinking + no resizing the scale of my window [no one wants to actually use zoom or their mouse], lack of white space, lack of active white space, line spacing is too narrow, too many font sizes, pictures are badly placed and inhibit reading ease). Art school graduates often make the mistakes of; text to background color contrast, lazy with titles and subtitles, text sizes, text blocks are not split into digestible parts, indiscernible links, text is a decoration not an interface or as a navigational element, and/or fancy navigation is the center of attention. "Typography in practice is not choosing fonts or making fonts, it's about shaping text for optimal user experience." (Note: Designer's should read more books to develop typography). It is especially important to remember that a website will and should be accessible on the maximum number of devices (Ex/ Professional websites work on a a cellphone). With that said, it does not need to look the same, but should be easy to read and understand.
"Focus on typography, ask yourself, which text is functional, which text is passive, systematize them, order them hierarchically, simplify, create an interface, the rest will add up automatically. Until you have resolved the readability issues, don’t even think about changing colors, thickening lines, pushing pixels, choosing pictures. Start by designing grids on paper."
This is an area that I find myself distracted in. Specifically at the preliminary wire-frame stage when I should focus on a systematic solution of organizing the information.

Design for the message and not for the medium because it will always change.

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