Biz site Quartz makes good design choices

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
The team behind The Atlantic has launched a new business-centric Web site, Quartz. Freed from the demands of legacy media or existing user habits, the site makes a number of excellent calls, including these three:

RESPONSIVE DESIGN. Change the window size and watch the content rearrange itself to fit everything from a desktop browser to mobile phone screen. Tremendous efficiencies in this approach: Design once for many platforms.

NO ROTATING FRONT-PAGE GRAPHICS. Continuously flipping centerpiece images are the mark of an indecisive (or understaffed) editorial team. For one thing, the metrics are hard to track, making much of the effort involved unmeasurable. For another, secondary images may rarely get seen. Quartz takes a stand, picks its best shot and makes it fully accessible on its front page -- at least when the front page is displayed at larger sizes.

NO 'RELATED LINKS.' This content, which on major news sites is often appended in the left or right columns as an afterthought and then ignored -- worse, it's invisible on many smartphones -- on Quartz instead appears at the point most relevant to the story's narrative. (Note that ads, too, are well integrated with editorial content -- tough to ignore, but not bolted-on as at so many other sites.)
* Nieman Journalism Lab's Joshua Benton: Quartz risks "breaking two decades of website metaphors"
* Another sign digital can trump print: Pulitzer winner Mark Konkol leaves Sun-Times for online-only

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