Software maintains the design traditions developed for print media. Mastheads, columns, and photo blocks are layout components carried over from the earliest printed documents. Even today’s interactive elements fall into these traditions. Print design was optimized for paper. Must software follow these principles?

Architecture found itself in a similar rut until Frank Lloyd Wright freed it from the boxed-in, Victorian layouts of the early 1900s. He removed rigid wall partitions, letting rooms flow together, which created more seamless layouts.

The traditions of print design create unnatural partitions in electronic content. This places an artificially created burden on the information architecture. Like rooms in a Wright house, content can be arranged into forms that allow it to flow in natural ways and become immediately accessible. The content, its form and the UI ultimately become one. Users will enjoy a more natural experience and have a deeper understanding of the content. I will show examples that bring this principle to life.

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