We spend nearly 11 hours a day with electronic media. I didn’t read this in a newspaper or a book, I read it online on an internet-connected PC. Now consider we are only awake for about 17 hours a day, that’s a huge percentage of time staring at a screen.
Statista says that some of this is multitasking time otherwise, “we wouldn’t get a whole lot done these days.” But it does make me think about two important things:
- How our communications needs to be specifically designed for the illuminated computer screen in a variety of sizes, and
- How a well designed print piece on high quality paper really stands out in the sea of digital sameness
I do find that I miss the tactile experiences of reading on paper. Reading from a screen for long periods of time are a strain on my eyes and are not satisfying. There are hundreds of studies on comprehension, but little consistency in the results. We do know however, people are skimmers and not readers these days–that’s either caused by our busy lives or a result of reading from a screen
The largest screen we view is a digital billboard. Here you can really see the difference in a well-designed digital billboard and a design that would have worked better on a printed poster board. You also quickly notice that there should be different designs parameters for daylight digital displays than nighttime digital billboard designs. There probably should be different daylight designs as well depending on sun angles and time of day.
We spend a lot of time looking at screens. It’s time for our designs to acclimate to the new medium. It’s not a white piece of paper.