Note: If you don't find the 'Beating Dead Horse' labels on posts about flat design funny, you probably won't find this funny either.
Hey, I'm here to serve: http://tldr.io/tldrs/51c3441590f426565700134e/this-is-a-web-page-
Lol, I didn't know there was a such site. Maybe I'll publish a website like www.tldrtldr.io to summarize the summarized contents so on :)
Way to elevate the discussion. (sigh)
I fear this is the current over-arching trend I've found here recently. Short knee-jerk reactions, little thought or time given to have a meaningful discussion with other professionals. Comments like these need a way to be buried, not "firsted" at the top of what could have been an interesting discourse between designers about what the post had to say.
I don't particularly agree with the premise of the post, but now I don't even want to explain why as the conversation kicked off in such a pathetic way. And was even "liked" by others.
My comment wasn't a knee-jerk reaction. I found it funny that I didn't care at all what his text was, because it was just a huge wall of characters- while he argued that text mattered in the text itself. TL;DR = a joke commenting on the irony of it. I was 'firsted at the top' because I posted first :P
If you'd done a simple search to read my other DN comments, you'd find that I'm not in the category of "little thought or time given to have a meaningful discussion with other professionals". How about not throwing sweeping generalizations about others based on one comment?
(Warning: this is a wall of text.)
Hi Nancy, thanks for all of the insight, especially the clarification of "the joke." When you said to "perform a simple search to read [your] other DN comments" it wasn't clear to me how to do that. At least, not using DN. Maybe I'm missing it, but I don't see a way to do that here.
In hindsight I suppose I could have googled, "site:news.layervault.com nancy t", which I must admit I didn't.
My comment wasn't aimed at only you, although it was in this instance. It was directed towards internet acronym responses commonly found on Reddit.
On a side note, if there was a way to award karma to comments OR take it away, I'd like to think your comment would have moved up and down the thread here. Right now it's at the top just based on chronology. If karma could affect a comment negatively, people could vote them down if they so desired and and push them down the thread over time while high-scoring comments might bubble up, if they were any good.
...like the site this site is modeled after.
I look forward to seeing how it all evolves and reading more of your comments, no joke.
Here's the discussion "over there" which is quite entertaining and informative, if you're curious - still in the #1 slot with over 220 comments: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5913381
Interestingly, down at the very bottom are some TL;DR's, too (which are becoming grayed out).
You know, that did feel kind of good. Hope you didn't read all that crap I wrote above.
Hi "Eric", thanks for all of the "insight", especially your clarification of your "understanding" of my 'TL;DR' comment. I will read your wall of text because you replied to my comment.
No, DN doesn't support search or downvotes, but you can complain about that here: https://news.layervault.com/stories/4480-lets-talk-about-how-you-cant-view-past-comments-cant-search-and-how-there-are-no-reply-notifications
DN is not Reddit, and it's not HN. 'TL;DR' was the most succinct answer I could give to express the irony I perceived from Justin's page. Let me be clear: I don't mean to be dismissive. A page of text without styling is hard to read and hard to care about in an age of instant gratification and ADHD.
Or you know, TL;DR if you don't want to read my response. I spy another 1 word comment on this page you could pick on if thats your thing.
" A page of text without styling is hard to read and hard to care about in an age of instant gratification and ADHD."
A few data points to consider: - Over 50,000 unique people have visited that page today. They've spent, on average, 2:43 minutes reading it (very good, for a page that length) - I received over 400 mentions on Twitter today from that page. Only 2 have been negative. - The click-through rate on that link on the bottom of the page (to my book's landing page) is over 8% (average CTR is generally 1-2% I think) - Great designers like Jeffrey Zeldman, Jason Fried and the folks at A List Apart liked it and shared it today
Thanks for the stats- I don't disagree with them, but I do believe there's a time and place for a large body of text. If you're telling a story, that's great. I definitely read through long articles (eg: NYT's relatively unstyled 6-pagers) if the story grabs me and the writing is good. But if you're trying to explain what your mobile app is, that's not so great.
Good content > decorative design. But good content also risks being overlooked without styling. Great design is when it enhances good content without getting in the way.
But in this case, couldn't we argue that this page is good design?
An average post on the New York Times or Huffington Post might get 2,500 views in a day. A great one might get 27,000+. http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/12/the-economics-of-blogging-and-the-huffington-post/
This page, written, designed, and distributed by 1 person has had 61,198 page views so far today.
Doesn't sound like it's been overlooked, despite it's lack of styling.
I think it depends on the way the content is served too. Would an average post in the NTY or Huffington post get 61,198 views in a day? Probably not, but I'm guessing people who hate sports don't read sports articles, people not interested in business don't read the business section, etc.
But post an article titled 'This is web design' on DN, HN, and spread it on Twitter? The audiences of all 3 are quite tech-oriented, and a lot of people visit those sites. It's like preaching to the choir; they're likely already intrigued by the title and are interested in reading what you say about web design.
I think you posted in the right places and got the right exposure, so no, it hasn't been overlooked. I think this phenomenon of viral-ness is very interesting and merits another discussion on its own even. However- nice job, and congrats on your improved stats :) My intention was never to offend, but to make an ironic/funny comment.
It's really interesting to see the difference between the conversation here on DN, the conversation on Hacker News, and the conversation on Twitter.
The thread on HN has been #1 for the past 5 hours. It's generated a lot of great discussion; much of it constructive.
So far on Twitter today I've had 376 people @reply me; almost all positive. In the past 5 hours I've gained 265 new followers (a 17% growth rate).
I also had some prominent people in the community that liked it and shared it: Zeldman, Jason Fried, A List Apart, Ryan Holmes, etc...
In terms of the "effectiveness of design": - So far, the page has had 48,000 unique visitors - The average time spent on page is 2:43 minutes (very good for page that length) - The page weight is only 4KB. Average time to load the page is 0.79 seconds - That little link at the bottom to my mailing list converted very well, and has grown my mailing list by over 300% so far today
How do you guys feel about the quality of the discussion here on DN?
I'm actually ashamed of the way the discussion has progressed here. I'm a writer as well as a designer. It strikes me that much of the sentiment here has been defensive: "But you need the bells and whistles because otherwise people can't and won't engage with your content!"
I found it far easier to engage deeply with your content than I have with sites that employ parallax scrolling and complex visual trickery to tell a story. Does that mean I don't think those flashy sites have a place? I think they do. But I can only speak from my experience, as a reader and a user, and my experience is that I appreciate being able to engage with content deeply instead of having shiny toys thrown at me every so often to prevent me from clicking away.
It's not either-or, of course, and I don't think you're suggesting that every site on the internet needs to exist as black Times New Roman on a white background. There's no standard template for how to "correctly" communicate. We all enjoy a good spectacle every one in a while. But sometimes, we can also appreciate a compelling string of words on a plain page. I think that's all you're arguing, and I'm totally behind that.
i can't speak for anyone else, but as a web designer, there was nothing in your post that i haven't heard already. an overly verbose and pretentious rehash of the old adage "content is king."
and that core message has nothing to do with your book.
your book does seem interesting though.
Hey Jim, that's fair. ;)
What's interesting to me is that the sentiment here seems so different than the sentiment everywhere else.
well, yeah. designers are assholes.
Thats not exactly true- There's a lot of opposing views on HN as well.
Great numbers you have there! I would also like to take a look at the numbers of your B version, where you actually do some design. I'm sure you are familiar with the concept of A/B testing, right?
I have to say, I really like what you wrote. But to come here and declare it a big hit, just with numbers and nothing to compare, makes me think that you were only looking for hype.
Have a great day.
If you want to remember people about how the web was some time ago or how we are all complicating things or how easy it is to pass a message without complicating too much that's one story, but if you wanna talk about good design and compare it to what you just did that's a completely different story.
If you go to a stadium and get naked you can get the same attention that you did here and people will forget about it, like they will forget about what you just did.
You and Jason fried suffer from the same problem, strong statements, some good old truths in the middle, then generalize and use the word "aesthetics" and "design" just to provoke people.
I'm not saying I didn't liked your page, I did, there is some good stuff there. But that doesn't give you the right to come here and use one truth to glue another one that looks like a true when it isn't.
What you did has nothing to do with design.
"What you did has nothing to do with design."
I'd argue that this page is designed.
What you did was to provoke people and make them remember about the old good times of the web. I'm not going to discuss semantics with you and please stop using the word design!!!
You did a good job tho, I don't want to depreciate it in any way, just don't use the words good design there. If you use it, you are misleading people.
Being provocative is one thing, good design is another. Don't mix both just because you selling books by using provocative words and then saying it works and then saying it's good design, too much assumptions... You would pass by in a non design community, here, however, that would never happen.
If you set your .wrapper to "max-width: 600px;" instead of "width: 600px;", you would have the worlds simplest responsive website! :)
Thanks. That's good design advice. ;)
Justin, you are right. Right about that you said "Will that additional styling, image, or hyperlink give my audience more understanding? If the answer's "no", don't add it."
But don't forget about 10 seconds rule (http://www.nngroup.com/articles/how-long-do-users-stay-on-web-pages/) which means users always in a rush. If you don't attract in this limited period, you're finished. In case you do some serious works you don't want to risk it just serving plain text, right? You need to add colors, nicely rendered artworks, smooth animations.
That hasn't been my experience today.
So far over 48,000 people have viewed that page. The average time spent on page is 2:43 minutes (very good for page that length), indicating most read it.
The click-throughs on that single link in the footer of the text have been good as well: over 8% CTR.
The page made me question how important styling, typography, color and graphics are. I'd rather read great content with less 'design', than mediocre content with great design. I think one important point is focusing on the content (text) before the graphical design.
I've lately used raw text as a starting point for doing product design, and it's great for focusing on clarity and ease of use.
Totally agree with that, and you separate content from design which is how it should be.
Yeah, of course. But I get the feeling that designers (myself included) focuses to little on content. We try to craft good content – but we seldom sweat the details as much as we do our pixels. I think that needs to change.
true, more good content is needed, I guess we try to escape it by doing fancy stuff.
"And if your words are good, people will read them."
In the perfect world, yes sure. But if it was only about good words, everybody would have read all of Shakespeare, Hemingway, etc, by now.
Communication is about reaching the right audience. If you want to talk to people who want to look at pretty pictures and videos, then make a web page with pictures and videos.
If you want to teach teens who are on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc, ALL the time. Then i don't think you learn them anything by showing them a white page with some standard black letters on. They won't read it and they won't care about it.
Most of the time communication is words, but sometimes would a simple transition or a picture say more than a thousand words (cliché)
I wish I could write text like that.
ironically, the words don't really say much.
That is ironic.
The cunning thing is that everyone gets to think a lot about this. Justin just sparked great conversational piece and debate (and emotions!!). I think that gets the job done.