Layout for consumable content

It’s great to see this (free!) article from Bang Wong in Nature Methods. Bang, who gave an EBI Interfaces talk in June 2010, writes about the positive impact of laying out page elements according to a regular grid. If you have been reading this blog recently, you’ll know that I am pretty keen on pushing the topic of content strategy and design, and layout really tackles the latter, page-by-page. We need to be able to design out content so that it is readable and consumable, otherwise it won’t convey its message effectively.

Clip of figures from Bang Wong's article on layout for Nature Methods

As Bang states,

“Well-structured content can guide readers through complex information, but when the material we present lacks order, it can confuse or, worse yet, agitate readers trying to make sense of the material”

I am really happy to see these concepts and approaches being introduced to the scientific authors, and especially in such a high-profile publication.

If you’re interested in learning some more, designer Mark Boulton has a series of excellent articles on this subject. It has of course been around in print design for years, but Mark’s articles were really what brought it to my attention a few years ago, and if you are a web designer, you should definitely start there (there are some differences with what works in different media… ).

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