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Doing a Liverpool

Ha! So all along (via over 2,000 words) all I was really proposing was doing a Liverpool. Nothing to do with the Fab 4, You’ll Never Walk Alone or Stan Boardman for that matter.

An unexciting, yet efficient UI pattern. Describes a set of titles, arranged in a grid, that each link to an overview page. Doing a Liverpool

There’s a lot of playfulness in iA’s description of the old internet. Are they being serious? Aren’t they fairly old internet themselves?

In part this often reflects an ongoing tension between doing quite boring things well in order to get your users where they want to be, and doing some whizzy things that please the paymasters when they’re looking at (rather than using) your website.

Of course, it’s not necessarily as clear cut as that. Your boss may be pragmatic and want to make something as easy possible. She may really dislike parallax scrolling. You may have educated your colleagues about the fold. The most whizzy solution might be the most efficient. The most efficient, old internet solution might look and feel whizzy. Customers might think this site’s a bit boring as they zoom through to the information they want.

But when our job is to help people do something or find information in a complex structure, often it’s the older, plainer approach that works best, simply because it doesn’t require any figuring out. A hamburger icon hides information. A shifting navigation bar that fixes itself to the top of the screen grabs your eye from the text you’re trying to read. Even something as unexciting as tabbed navigation is less efficient than your browser’s built in scroll bar.