Information Architect's latest blogpost on the Neuen Zürcher Zeitung, confirmed the web design agency's blog as one of my favourite out there. It's not only a showcase for exciting yet common-sense thinking around web design (with a healthy focus on news sites), but it's also a great example of a company blog done right. So, why do I like iA?
They understand print and web.
“It is a bold move to get print and digital from the same hands. Print and Web seem similar yet they are completely different disciplines. Web design needs different engineering skills from print design. One can see both the benefit and the downside of a print designer taking matters in his own hands. And while it is not entirely fair to nail the deficiencies of the design to the fact that a print designer did it, it is also the risk you take when you work in another field.”They are advocates of intelligent social integration.
“The aggressive integration of Social Media Buttons on a high end journalistic product feels cheap and pays more into the social networks than into the brand. Alternatively, the curated integration of the best Social Media comments into the article would add value and credibility to [NZZ's] brand.”They believe design, typography, advertising and photography make a news site.
“On the positive side it is worth mentioning that the NZZ gives enough space to the masthead and doesn’t slavishly follow the above-the-fold/below-the-fold ideology. There is enough white space to make the page breathe. The Typography is systematic and on most monitors it is readable. There is advertisement but it doesn’t kill the page. The work of the picture editors is exemplary.”A fair voice in a competitive field
“Commenting on work from people in your own field is a delicate matter. Usually, we don’t publicly comment on work by other agencies in our field. But besides that ballsy print campaign today (they printed the front with ones and zeros), there is a lot to like about this redesign.
Their articles on throwing out social media buttons, a business class for news and even strikethrough indications of erroneous tweets (doesn't sound gripping but is expertly nuanced) all worth a read too. Now it's just a case of putting all that advice into action.