Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Friday, June 19, 2009

get your paper here!

Farhad Manjoo on what’s good about reading actual newspapers:

But both versions of the Kindle are missing what makes print newspapers such a perfect delivery vehicle for news: graphic design. The Kindle presents news as a list—you're given a list of sections (international, national, etc.) and, in each section, a list of headlines and a one-sentence capsule of each story. It's your job to guess, from the list, which pieces to read. This turns out to be a terrible way to navigate the news.

Every newspaper you've ever read was put together by someone with an opinion about which of the day's stories was most important. Newspapers convey these opinions through universal, easy-to-understand design conventions—they put important stories on front pages, with the most important ones going higher on the page and getting more space and bigger headlines. You can pick up any page of the paper and—just by reading headlines, subheads, and photo captions—quickly get the gist of several news items. Even when you do choose to read a story, you don't have to read the whole thing. Since it takes no time to switch from one story to another, you can read just a few paragraphs and then go on to something else.

Those of you who thought I was uncritically admiring of the Kindle earlier — by the way, you should really go back and read all my Kindle-tagged posts — will now think that I’m slamming it. But not at all: I post, you decide. About the Kindle, as about other matters, I’m fair, balanced, and unafraid.

1 comments:

  • John Gorup said...

    Also, if you lose your newspaper, it is indeed a bummer, but they will make a fresh one for you tomorrow.

    Also, I have read that if you have to deliver a baby in an emergency situation you can wrap the newborn in newspaper (like fish and chips), because it is sterile (especially the financial pages these days).

    I would like to see a Kindle you can wrap a baby in. Let's see just how good these Apple designers are.

Post a Comment

[Basic HTML tags can be used in this comment field.]