Annotating the World


This New York Magazine article seems topical to our class both in the way that it’s presented and for what it suggests about the future of the web.

A website called “Genius” (previously Rap Genius) is innovative in the way it explains song lyrics with annotations. As explained in the article up top, the site’s creators expect their million dollar idea to grow exponentially. They believe the whole internet can and will someday be annotated.

Well, what better way to design this story than with clever annotations? New York magazine made a wise choice (if obvious, in hindsight) to annotate its article about annotations. The gold highlights certainly make them stand out, and they indicate to the readers exactly what the story is referring to.

There’s nothing else fancy about the New York Magazine design; it’s clean and narrow with minimal visuals.

But this idea of annotations could fundamentally change the way writers write, let alone how web designers design. Why clunk up sentences when you can simply annotate them instead?

I frequently read the website Grantland and enjoy the way it employs footnotes (the older cousin of annotations). The footnotes, shown in thick red boxes, give the reader a choice to learn more or move on with the flow of the narrative.

So what do you think? Are you ready for your Internet to be annotated?

If I were savvy enough to annotate this post, I would have done so.


One thought on “Annotating the World

  1. Hi Mark. I think you made a very good observation about the potential change of the workflow of producing multimedia web content. Of all the web designers and content producers, it is indeed the time to rethink how the future website will be organized with this type of “annotation” style. And I also believe that this heat for annotating web contents will continue to grow, as it caters the need of niche audience, such as Taylor Swift’s fans.


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