Mark Rothko & the Fascism of the Box and Arrow

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Boxes and arrows are fascist statements.

They indicate a herd mentality that we wish to push on our visitors. They show the world segmented into a series of non-contextual areas, but vaguely related spaces touted as an “experience”

Mark Rothko had it right… there is no edge to the box, no line connecting them.

the contents of the box should be a spectrum of interest as defined by the user. the path is an effort by the user of venturing further into each area.

Content should be sculped around a user’s position.

Simply, wherever they are is the best place they can be.

If current position is the best context, every item becomes a promising tipping point, or positive next step.

So what does this mean?

It means what most of us have come to find:

  • Most navigation is junk
  • All content should be multi-faceted
  • Top-Down Tree-ing is dead

Some things we can do now

  • Draw content maps instead of page maps
  • Stop starting with navigation, and start thinking about how to indicate a story
  • At each expected user point, think about what questions would stem from that content
  • Stop aiming for the lowest common user
  • Try for understandability over usability
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