Figure/ground, framing, and grids
For this reading, I will focus on framing and will also jump back a little bit to hierarchy as it relates to framing. If we think of Web interfaces as a type of frame, than we have another dynamic to consider when designing for the Web. The Web has changed the way we must think of framing. Where print publications have their most rudimentary frame in the page itself (granted the page is framed on more than one way) the Web complicates the way that information is framed. Designers cannot guarantee that all of their audience will be working with a certain sized monitor, which frames the page. Even if the page was viewed on the same sized monitor, the audience have the option to scroll, essentially reframing the information shown. The reframing has hierarchy to it. Viewers expect that the designer put the most important information within the frame that will be viewed first.
The way that the audience views the page will be different as well. While the traditional z pattern reading will still be employed, audiences on the Web typically scan the page in general, looking for a link or a headline that seems interesting or important. It is less likely that the readers will read everything on a page than it would be on a print document. Headlines and good labels to establish hierarchy and modules of information will be of utmost importance to increase the readability of a Web site. But headlines and labels also a form of framing too. In Graphic Design several methods of combining image and text are shown, each ending with a different framing of the image. But what about bodies of text? Can words not also frame text? True, the GD says that an image on its own is open to interpretation, but can words also be open to interpretation? Wouldn’t a picture also serve as framing for another picture? If I displayed two images of Hiroshima, the day before the bomb was dropped and the day after, wouldn’t I be framing the context of each picture? Something to consider.
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