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How Disregarding Design Limits The Power Of Content

I have an article up at Smashing Magazine about the unique relationship between design and content. It’s called How Disregarding Design Limits the Power of Content. Here’s a clip…

It appears to be a reader’s market. More written content is freely available than ever before, accessible in just about every format you could imagine. If you want it on paper, you’ve got it. On screen? What size, friend? We can shrink, stretch and stitch it all together every which way because, really, we’re just talking about words here… Or are we?

As soon as I ask that question, several others quickly follow:

  • Is content so flexible?
  • Is content’s most basic unit the word? Or is it, perhaps, the message?
  • In today’s reader’s market, what of the writers and the designers who make reading possible?
  • And are we building tools that honor their work, too?

These questions didn’t randomly pop into my head one day. Nor did a design problem get me thinking along these lines. It was while reading — for pleasure — that I noticed something was wrong. After experimenting with a few different services that let me save articles to read later in a much more reader-friendly format (what I’ve come to call “reading advocacy” tools) it occurred to me that in the process of extracting content from its original context and accessing it elsewhere, I might be losing some information along the way.

You can read the rest here.