Close Close Comment Creative Commons Donate Email Add Email Facebook Instagram Mastodon Facebook Messenger Mobile Nav Menu Podcast Print RSS Search Secure Twitter WhatsApp YouTube
Defend the Facts Support independent journalism by donating to ProPublica.

Podcast: How 'Wee Things' Make a Big Difference in Design

When we look at a visualization, our brains throw away much of what we see. But small details like color, size or shape stand out from the rest, and those tiny differences do a lot to help us make sense of information every day.

These "wee things" that we experience as part of graphics or in our interactions with a web page are crucial design cues, Lena Groeger says. She joins our director of communications Nicole Collins Bronzan on the podcast this week to discuss how people read and interpret these small visual forms and how such tiny details can make a big impact when trying to communicate visually.

Wee things aren't just limited to space but also time, Groeger says, pointing out how wee interactions, like swiping open an app or clicking a home button, depend on small hints (arrows, round corners, a home icon) to be understood and used correctly. When it comes to interaction design, the details really matter.

"My favorite example in the real world are the push/pull signs on doors, which we see everywhere ... There are lots of things on the web that are like these push/pull signs," Groeger says. "They're there, and if you paid attention and followed the instructions, you'd get it right but really they might be an indicator that there's something wrong with the design ... There's lots of things that design can do to basically eliminate the need for a lot of these instructions."

Listen to this podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher. And for more on the outsized impact of wee things, read Groeger's full post on our nerd blog.

Follow ProPublica

Latest Stories from ProPublica

Current site Current page