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Tuesday, November 17, 2009


When integrating information into both print and online designs, it cannot simply be a copy and paste for designs that work for one genre may not work for a different one even if the information presented is still the same.

Jakob Nielson explains that print is designed in 2-dimension, with much attention paid to layout, while web designs are ‘1-dimensional and N-dimensional’ which causes readers to scroll up-and-down as they read the document. (Nielson, 1997)

This is because people read documents on print and documents online differently. For print design, people read from left to right (Kress & van Leeuwen 2006), while most people scan through for information on online designs instead of reading the traditional way. Jakob Nielson explains that this is because people tend to read 25% slower when reading on through a computer screen. (Nielson, 1997)

Picture 1

Picture 2
Source: ArtsBeat

Take the two pictures above for example. Picture 1 is the front page of The New York Times and Picture 2 is the online version of the same article in Picture 1.

As you can see in Picture 1, the photo of Michael Jackson is highly salient and covers most of the front page. It immediately captures the attention of the readers at first glance. The picture grabs their attention and leads them on to look at the other information on the page while using spatial juxtaposition to make page elements enhance and explain each other. And because reading on print is les tiring than on online designs, more information can be fitted unto the page.

Picture 2 on the other hand has a smaller sized picture of Michael Jackson because huge and glaring images in online design will strain the reader’s eyes. However, online designs are complete with hyperlinks to further information to which the readers can choose for themselves instead of being lead on like in print designs.

  1. Kress, G & van Leeuwen, T 2006, "Reading Images: Grammar of Visual Design," Routledge, London
  2. Nielson, J 1997, "Be Succinct! (Writing for the Web)," online, retrieved 18 November 2009, from,
  3. Nielson, J 1997, "The Difference Between Paper and Online Presentation," online, retrieved 18 November 2009, from

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