Get Design Out of My Way

As someone how designs websites and apps for a living, I have grown increasingly disgusted with my own work. Heck, I've grown sick of browsing the default styles of any given website.

At least for websites where your goal is to consume the information and form an opinion or make an informed decision, design has become a nuisance and gets in the way instead of facilitating a pleasant experience.

As brands get creative and adopt their own font styles crafted carefully for a personalized brand identity, the cognitive load which comes with interpreting type and design choices creates ever more friction. Combined with poor contrast design, excessive white space and strange font weight choices, I find myself automatically loading the reader view on my iPhone.

Why don't I do something about it?

While I take a great deal of time explaining to clients that often less is more, in the end, I can't deliver a white page with a paragraph of text, perhaps nicely rendered by bullets.

I'd like to, but I can't. Clients won't have this.

When it comes to fonts, it seems website opt for custom sizes, typically too small for mobile browsers, or just small enough that you want to make them larger.

At least there's reader view

I must say that Apple's reader view on iPhone (especially when you set it to show everything formatted by default) has been really awesome.

Whenever I find myself loading a link from HN, the familiar sight and formatting of reader view is quite welcoming. No longer do I see share buttons, comment bubbles, advertisements or tiny fonts, everything just looks great and is easy to read.

Of course reader view has its problems when it blocks some content which is part of a publication. However, I've found that the stories often read easier as you focus on the core content and not the supportive illustrations.

These days all of my content loads with reader view on by default and at times I have forgotten what a particular publication looks like. Occasionally, I'll tap the view button to disable reader to see the un-styled view and frankly, it always disappoints.


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