The Knock Against Snowfalling

David Sleight, writing in A List Apart, on “Snow Fall“-style experiments in web design:

As overdue experiments in art direction and editorial design for the web, these things are important. They’re also polarizing. People either love ’em or hate ’em (or hate on them, anyway). So more than a year after it joined the common news parlance, the question remains: is “snowfalling” worth it?

The biggest knock against “Snow Fall”–style pieces is that they seem to take a lot of time and effort to produce. Now, last time I checked, plenty of things worth doing take time and effort. But let’s give this argument its due. These stories can take a lot of time and effort to produce — at first. The more attempts, the better and more robust the tools become and the smarter organizations get about building them efficiently.

To me, the biggest knock against “Snow Fall”-style designs is that they make the article harder to read. I didn’t actually read much of “Snow Fall”. I spent a lot of time on the page and was certainly impressed by the design, but as a reader I felt lost.

I’m in complete agreement with Sleight that experiments like “Snow Fall” are important. I’d rather see failed experiments than no experiments. But I think it’s essential to keep in mind that the primary purpose of any story design is for it to be read.

Thursday, 7 November 2013