Monkey Do

I’m enjoying this Hell’s Angels Slideshow at Life Magazine’s site. For a corporate media slideshow, they’ve done a good job on the visual design.

Typically, the slideshow is a hopeless morass of competing interests. The designer wants to give the user an immersive view into the unique imagery curated by the editors. (So far, so good.) The editors want to add a headline and caption, which is fine, but they can’t understand why they should be constrained to a certain length, meaning that the design must accommodate very long and very short captions gracefully. The marketing people want to both load the page up with banners, and punch up the page views, so you force the user to load a full page of distracting ads with each image. The social media “strategists” want to add a full menu of flair badges next to the image. The photographer and the IP people want to ensure that the image won’t be used without a license, so it can’t be big.

Oh well.

The designers at Life have done a nice job of keeping it all together. The pictures stand out nicely on black, the headlines and captions are restrained and tasteful, and the navigation stays put and doesn’t push the photography too far down into the fold. The custom flair buttons are well done, tightly grouped and restrained. I can’t overstate how much I hate reloading an entire page for each image, and a one-click route back to the top of the slideshow would be nice, but it all looks good.

Unfortunately, the attention to detail doesn’t extend to the photo editing.

The caption for Slide 20 (this link no longer works, boo) describes the “one percenter” patch, a “badge of honor” celebrating the biker’s “outlaw status.” Where’s the patch in the photo?

Hidden behind the watermark.

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