progressive disclosure and digital natives

This article in Six Revisions explains the technique of Progressive Disclosure that web designers use to arrange more information in a less cluttered fashion. Progressive Disclosure allows information to be displayed as the user needs it, like drop down menus that appear when the mouse if hovered over it. WordPress uses this feature in its toolbar, allowing users to navigate easily between blog tools and functions. The article also highlights possible problems these features pose, such as accessibility and compability. There is nothing more annoying than drop-down bars that either don’t function, or haven’t loaded properly.

I find it interesting that these designs can be implemented with such ease and have a whole Internet audience figure out how to use it. Granted it’s not rocket science, but progressive disclosure works on the principles that the menus are hidden unless you know to hover your mouse over it. Yet these interfaces are extremely intuitive and most Internet users don’t even think twice about it. The same goes for the way we scroll on touch screens. Ever since Apple released a range of products that made scrolling just the flick of a finger, most users of technology expect some sort of touch screen functionality in the same manner. When we go to musuems and encounter screens, more or less we expect to be able to interact with them physically.

Webdesign is a funny thing, because new things can be introduced and the manner in which audiences react to it can be unpredictable. My blog right now is using a theme that is based very much on minimalist design. The colors and simple, the lines are clean and clear cut. Images are positioned amongst the text very carefully. Yet I remember the way I would create glitter banners and customized mouse cursors when I was 12 and using ICQ to talk to strangers, and I wonder if we’ve lost a bit of the fun in just how amateur user generated content can be.

http://www.GlitterMaker.com/ - Glitter Graphics
http://www.GlitterMaker.com/Glitter GraphicsFacebook LayoutsFacebook Banners

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