Distractions have always been a natural constituent of our lives. But with the rise of mobile technology, a circus of notifications, and all the noise going on around us, it’s become harder and harder to focus on a task at hand.
On the web, we are confronted with an unprecedented amount of distractions that gave birth to various tools like Readability, Instapaper, Adblocker, etc. Attention span shortens while the quality of reading experiences declines; ultimately leaving a lot of great content out there undiscovered, unloved, unshared and unread by most.
The closest I’ve come to including a sidebar in a design in the last year was having pull quotes hang in the margin.
I’ve worked in web and mobile design (remember Palm VII?) for 15 years and it feels like we’re just now starting to look at print design for lessons about making layouts readable.
Like early Mac owners would include every font they could on a page, rapidly advancing web technology provides even more fonts, along with a crazy amount of animations, transitions, effects, etc. and there are designers out there who try to use all of them on a single page.