Tag Archives: frankie-roberto

Contextual Writing (Telescopic and Responsive Text)

How can a writer cater to an audi­ence with diverse pref­er­ences and needs (par­tic­u­larly, how much detail they want and how much time they have)? One way is to use tele­scop­ic or respons­ive text.

Tele­scop­ic text is a meth­od of iter­at­ively dis­play­ing more and more tex­tu­al detail on request (I sup­pose the read­er becomes the user). Joe Dav­is’ bril­liant example of tele­scop­ic text starts with the phrase “I made tea” before pro­gress­ing to a 198-word short story through 45-or-so iter­a­tions. Won­der­ful.

Respons­ive text is sim­il­ar in some regards and vastly dif­fer­ent in oth­ers. Like a respons­ive design, respons­ive text ‘scales’ in response to the user’s screen size in order to dis­play an appro­pri­ate amount of tex­tu­al detail. If viewed on a lar­ger screen, Frankie Roberto’s respons­ive text example points out:

It’s a bit of an exper­i­ment, and I’m not really sure how use­ful it really is, but I think it’s an inter­est­ing idea.

It could also per­haps be com­bined with some form of a user inter­face that allows you to con­trol how much text you want to read. This might be really use­ful for news art­icles, for instance – you could decide wheth­er to read full quotes and a detailed back­story, or just the gist.

I think mak­ing this beha­viour user-con­trol­lable is key and an inter­face variable/bookmarklet is an inter­est­ing concept to fol­low. One issue I envis­age is that adop­tion of this will come from authors and mak­ing this easy-to-imple­ment on the pro­du­cer-side will take some skill.

via @fooman­doo­n­i­an