Ask DN: Your preferred content overview approach?

almost 9 years ago from

I often find myself in situations that require a content overview, i.e blog homepage, magazine front, etc.

The aesthetics-driven part of me says that content overview should be attractive and "cool" as it's normally the home page and should set the tone and draw the user in visually.

But the UX part of me says that day-to-day usage dictates the necessity for a clean linear list that allows the reader to easily scan content and see what is new or not.

What is your preferred approach for, say, a blog/magazine home page? Funky grid system? Linear list of articles?

Would love to see some good examples of visually-driven content pages that doesn't sacrifice usability for snazzy graphics.


  • Tobin HarrisTobin Harris, almost 9 years ago

    This might also be useful.


    "Summary: For mobile navigation, image grids should be saved for deeper IA levels where visual differentiation between menu items is critical, as they increase page load times, create longer pages, and cause more scrolling."

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  • Tobin HarrisTobin Harris, almost 9 years ago

    I read this article yesterday that addresses many of the concerns:


    When written, The Week magazine had a 3 level content structure - Sections, Section Pages and Articles. They ended up swapping snazzy overview pages for a linear list of sections. This was written in 2012, would be interesting to see where they're at now.

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  • Malte NuhnMalte Nuhn, almost 9 years ago

    We struggled with this a lot at Artfinder, my former gig. It falls into the 'visual, lightweight' bucket Riho mentions, and we embraced that in the end.

    The current design (https://www.artfinder.com/ - you can 'x' out of the sign-up form) deals with this quite well IMO; our UX research was very clear that images drove content selection both for buyable products and editorial content.

    We also found that users were very good (& fast) at selecting visual content, and 'overload' was never an issue. Just one example: we bucket-tested emails with different #s of images, and between 10, 20, and 30 product shots (!) in an email the CTR increased linearly (!) from about 1% to about 3%.

    (Disclaimer - I wasn't involved in the latest design and don't work there anymore.)

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  • Riho KrollRiho Kroll, almost 9 years ago

    Basically, for me it would come down to the type of content. If the content is very visual and lightweight, a grid overview is great for quick scanning. But if it's articles that rely on the headline to be read to generate interest (most blogs) then the good old linear list is best in my opinion, for the reasons you said already, but also because with less distractions, the headlines get more attention and are thus more readable.

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