[David Strom's Web Informant] July 17, 2013; Why Lorem Ipsum Is a Bad Idea

David Strom david at strom.com
Wed Jul 17 09:29:36 EDT 2013

Web Informant, July 17, 2013; Why Lorem Ipsum Is a Bad Idea

Do you know about lorem ipsum dolor? That's Latin for I don't have a
clue about Web design. Well, not quite.

Early in the 1960s, graphic designers used this text from an essay by
Cicero that was included in an early desktop publishing program as a
way to fill up text blocks in publications. When we first developed a
prototype magazine issue of Network Computing back in 1990, the entire
text of the issue contained the filler words, prompting some readers
to email us that they thought they had read the same article several
times. LOL.

But Lorem Ipsum has evolved since those early days. Now there are
dozens of variations, some using only words for pork products,
dialogue from Star Trek or scatological rants from Samuel Jackson
(think Pulp Fiction) or worse. There is even a =lorem() function in
some versions of Microsoft Word and Wordpress too.

It amazes me that it is so prevalent. While amusing, the practice
represents bad Web design. You could say that Loren Ipsum is the
Royale with Cheese of Web design: not really good for you but cheap
and easy. Why?

As my go-to UX pro Danielle Cooley says, "If you don't know what your
content *actually* is, as well as how it will be created, managed, and
governed, you shouldn't be designing yet. That's why we have so many
beautiful products that are so difficult to use or that don't really
support the content that ends up being there. People design beautiful
pages with two paragraphs of Lorem Ipsum, then find out a week before
launch that there's only one sentence of content, or that they really
need to put a photo or video there instead. Then you end up trying to
shoehorn stuff into spaces where it doesn't really fit."

Well said. So have fun fooling around with the baco-ipsum, but when it
comes to designing your actual Web content, know what words you are
going to put in which places and how much room everything is going to
occupy. And you don't need to say that in Latin. Or quote any
Tarantino either.

Quick self promotions note

If you are in St. Louis the week after next and want to learn from
some brilliant big data minds, come to StampedeCon. I will be hosting
the two day conference: http://stampedecon.com/

Comments, in Latin or English, always welcome:

More information about the WebInformant mailing list