Friday 9 April 2010

Easy on the eyes

One of the questions I love to ask in interviews is "What's your favourite website and why?".

It's a slightly less daunting question than "What's your favourite book" because somehow, websites don't divide into high and low (or "so bad it's good") categories.

When people are talking about their favourite sites, I'm listening to what they're saying about the freshness of the writers' voices, or the perfection of the information architecture, or how the search seems to have better results than any other site they use, or the way the design makes them feel.

When I think about this question myself though, I often get a little stumped. I spend much of my time on Twitter (where I get flicked out to specific pages on websites, but rarely move further through them) or immersed in my feedreader, where the content is stripped of all design and UX consideration, and is just about the information and the voice.

So asking the question of others made me ask it of myself. Here's where I got to.

The Guardian website (before they changed the homepage, creating four-column, uncategorised mayhem - why, Guardian, why?) always makes me feel like a saner and more intelligent human being. Their arts & books coverage is great, I'm forever being tempted into Comment Is Free, and the information architecture sets my mind at ease.

ArtsJournal is consistently the fifth thing I review in the morning (5th, you ask? The list looks like this: Twitter, work email, personal email, feedreader). It's not about the design (in fact, I always flick to the diehard view) it's about the curation. It's like every day someone smarter and more worldly than I is pointing me in the right direction.

Thinking for a Living gives me that clenched-chest feeling of love. I don't care that it's actually a little hard to navigate, I just think it's beautiful. Especially this. I also subscribe to this awesome feed.

Hoefler and Frere-Jones. Inside every web and every art person I know, there seems to be a little font-head trying to get out. Sure, I like H&FJ's fonts just fine, but to be honest, if you put them in a line-up, I dunno if I'd be able to pick them out. What I love though is the way they talk about type. And the grey.

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