“The template system is also good for the audience. Apcar says that when readers come to a NYTimes.com multimedia project, it will look familiar to them — they will know how to navigate it. That’s not so for a news site that treats every multimedia project as an independent entity, not bound to existing practices or guidelines. Make it easy for the Web user to view your multimedia, he suggests, while still allowing yourself plenty of flexibility in how a package looks and what content elements are included.” Steve Outing
—Breaking News Multimedia: Not an Oxymoron (Editor and Publisher)
In the Middle Ages, every book was a hand-crafted work of art, but the printing press led to standardization that vastly increased literacy across Europe. While the elite still enjoyed their hand-illuminated manuscripts, the populace had ready access to mass-produced versions. The current backlash against Jakob Nielsen’s minimalist design aesthetic (if you can call “industrial ugly but dang efficient” an aesthetic) and the slow decline of Nielsen’s once brilliant Alert Box suggests that the hypertext aesthetes are regaining some ground, but there’s a lot to be said for templates, which free the individual author (whoops — I meant “content creator”) from having to master all aspects of a design system, and which is one important reason why weblogging services are bringing hypertext authorship to the masses. Thanks for the link, Mike.