PreRamble: Following up on my recent post on the visual perception of information — case in point — a very lovely graphic design/poster depicting very interesting and useful information on The Ideal Length of Everything Online …
I like this graphic/poster — a lot. It caught my eye right away. It’s fun … it’s hip … it’s well-designed. It’s full of energy, interesting shapes and engaging colors. I would hang this on the wall in my office. I would buy a coffee mug with this stuff on it.
I’m assuming that the goal of this piece is to communicate some pretty important, research-based information that can help people craft effective communications in our digital/social media world.
I’m in! As a designer, writer and communicator, I want to know the information contained in this graphic/poster. This information is valuable to me. I want to use it in my work.
Except, I can’t.
Still fascinated, … but exhausted. Based on the visual perception dynamics demonstrated in the Rozenholtz research (discussed in previous post) and elsewhere, my eye is so busy popping back and forth from box to box, following arrows, flashing between colors, making associations between words and numbers, navigating around the sizes and shapes, and fielding the negative space between them, that I can’t seem to get my head wrapped around the information itself.
It wasn’t until I converted the content on the poster into a less visually engaging form (shown below) that I was able to access it and use it. Ok, yeah, … it’s simple, clunky and boring, but it works as a great cheat sheet until the practices become second nature.
The Take-Away: The ideal solution for graphic interest, energy or fun isn’t always the same as the ideal solution for user experience around the communication of information.
Both good design — different outcome.
Note: The fun graphic/poster accompanies an article by Kevan Lee that appeared on the blog-site Buffer in March 2014. In it he spells out the research and provides excellent examples of the ideal lengths of things premise — well worth checking out here.
Alas, according to The Ideal Length of Everything Online, this blog post falls short of the ideal length of a blog post by 1,233 words.