Keywords in blue – adding usability to print

Interesting to see what web designers come up with when they tackle a newspaper redesign.

I liked this post from the people at Information Architects. They talk about pitching to redesign a German newspaper and some of the ideas they came up for it. They didn’t win the job, but learned a lot from the exercise.

Their pitch focused on taking the web concept of usability and using it in print. Their aim was to:

“Make the paper more usable, think cross media instead of separate media, while using the strength of the paper (pictures, info graphics, nice text) to the max… Make a product that people want to buy because it is more usable that the competitor, not because it wins graphic design prizes.’

Here’s a before and after:

Before and after

They came up with a list of design rules which included optimising print size (a much bigger type size than currently standard) and sticking to two fonts. Of particular interest was that they chose to highlight keywords in blue.

“If you speak German you can actually read the front page in 20 seconds by flying over the blue key words. It gets better: If you type any of those key words on the website search, you will get a list of articles with the respective keyword in a chronological order. That way you avoid the necessity to print http;// style links in print. Links in print obviously doesn’t mean that you can click it, it means linking the paper to the online edition.’.

Here’s a snapshot of a section of the dummy front page with keywords in blue.

Snapshot of page with keywords in blue

The IA guys have a pdf of the whole dummy paper they used in the pitch and a download of the pitch itself in their post. The post is worth a read and they’ve done some interesting redesigns of newspaper websites in Europe that are worth a look too.

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