Web Design in the Age of Skim Reading

We live in an age of scroll culture. Just take a moment to think about how you move through any of your social channel feeds. Or how you’re about to zoom through this article (thought we wouldn’t notice, didn’t you?). With Internet users browsing speedily through content, how can you actually get readers to slow down and absorb the contents of your website? To understand how to achieve this goal, let’s step outside the World Wide Web for a second, and look at a case study of a brilliant advertising campaign that is getting passersby to stop in their tracks.

In cities across the United States, brightly-colored, giant posters have popped up advertising a nutritional bar called RXBAR. Designed by the firm Wieden+Kennedy, these billboards are anything but subtle. They feature self-referential quips, like a picture of the bar’s packaging underneath the giant header: “FOOD.” Or, in Times Square, an electronic sign reads: “Barely noticeable RXBAR poster in Times Square.” This campaign has been making design news. But what exactly is so genius about the overstated appearance and messaging?