What happened was, Lauren brought home Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographic Style and I was instantly captivated, by the book’s beauty and also the power of its message. So I’ve got typography on my mind. Stand by for more on the subject, but it struck me immediately that I’m living a typography lesson at work, in the form of the famous Amazon six-pager.
It’s not a secret; to start with, read Brad Porter’s excellent The Beauty of Amazon’s 6-Pager (although in typo-geek mode, I have to point out that “Six-pager” reads much more nicely than “6-Pager”).
Like Brad says, we put intense work into writing these things, and then others of us put intense work into reading them. I’m at a place in the structure where I find myself doing both; neither is easier than the other.
As a guy who’s invested years into descriptive markup and structured documents and flexible presentation and so on, I ought to be horrified by six-pagers, which are fixed-format paginated word-processor output. But in fact they work great. It saves so much time when you can say “That replication setup, second para on page 3, won’t it murder write throughput?”
You know what I’m starting to see? People putting in line numbers. And that’s an even bigger time-saver, particularly if you want to raise an issue about how this on page 1 relates to that on page 5.
Oh, and we do some initial reviewing electronically, but when it matters, six-pagers are printed. Because of course.