Ticker tape

I’m currently reading a very long post about Wikileaks, a rant by Bruce Sterling (The Blast Shack). Sterling specialises in rants, though for rants I find them pretty readable. It’s long, and apparently it’s generated a lot of comments. Now maybe I should have checked first but I’m part-way through and I’d like to know how much of Sterling’s writing I’ve got left before the comments start (which I’ll probably only skim). So how do I check without losing my place?

It’s got me thinking about something I’d like to see in web design to help long-form reading: a graphic ticker tape-like bar on the side of the screen that shows the proportion of the page that’s the story and the proportion that’s comments, plus a marker to show where I’m up to. That can’t be too hard can it?

Vaguely related reading: if:book’s a defense of pagination.

Modal information

If nothing else Webstock inspired me – thanks to Liz Danzico’s presentation, The Framework Age – to start listening again to Miles Davis’ A Kind of Blue. Linking information architecture to modal jazz, rapping out to Davis, and reading Seamus Heaney’s On Poetry put web design back in the real world and in a real and wider context.

It wasn’t all theory but talked to the very real human response to what we see around ourselves: wherever we go we experience the world as a series of frameworks within which we choose to operate. We walk on footpaths, not roads; we act in certain ways when we get into elevators; we follow each other and group ourselves together. That’s just the way we are and web designers need to respond to this and provide clues to users as to how they should interact with a page.