How long is a long story?
How about 6, 211 words?
That is the number of words that Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd required to tell his countrymen that the road to recovery required some bitter tonic to swallow.
His so-called essay was published in full in the Sydney Morning Herald last weekend.
I doubt there will be many Aussies who would really read the text, given that one needs at least 30 to 40 minutes to plough through it.
And the design didn’t really help.
Could anything have been done to make it more palatable? Most certainly!
How about a graphic to explain how the world got into its current difficulties? Or another graphic to explain the amount of bailout money governments around the world have put up?
The essay could also have been broken up into several parts which Mr Rudd had actually done. Pity the journalist wasn’t on the same wavelength!
Instead, a huge photo of the Sydney skyline and a couple of cranes working on two buildings was used across the bottom of the two pages with text flowing around the cut-outs. How unimaginative!
But here’s something designers should really do when faced with such a long story, or for that matter, ANY story: Read it through at least twice and try and pick out things you can use for visual effect such as the ideas above.
Brainstorm ideas with the section editor or colleagues and find ways to make the page more accessible to readers.
If you still can’t find ways to make the page interesting, you should find another job!