Right, so zoom layouts have had the better part of a year to take off, and they haven’t. That’s OK; they are an experimental Web standard within established Web standards, and it is now demonstrable that most Web sites are not standards-compliant. Zoom layouts remain a tool that can be used by smart developers.

I have come to be convinced that a really optimal design includes not merely reverse type (dark on light) but “positive” type, for want of a better word (light on dark). Why? Some people with learning disabilities prefer it, as do some low-vision people.

I also think you could use a single navigation column and another column for content with little trouble, at least according to the almost-completely-unnoticed research by one’s esteemed colleagues Alastair Campbell and Léonie Watson. (Other research and tools: Faruk Ateş, Jeremy Keith, Jemaleddin JOE HATES DYSLEXICS ASPERGERIANS Cole.)

So it looks like my original formulation (inspired by Aries Arditi, who, to this day, refuses to respond to E-mails or contribute in any way to a discussion he started in the first place) was most of the way there, but not all the way. And it looks like zoom layouts can no longer be a simple toggle; you have to give people a range of choices. There goes the frosty, mentholated, hyper-rigorous minimalist IC-Style page design you cherished so much.

Designers have nonetheless produced rather nice single-column, giant-font layouts – Headscape, for example, and Glaucoma.org, a brilliant design by Mule, replete with humorous touches, like stars in the night sky in the reverse-type layout. (Additional props for using Fairplex as display font.)

Other examples?

This is going to take a while to catch on, if it ever does. And WCAG 2 is an impediment, as will be documented in due course.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2006.02.04 15:24. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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