Good Readable Content: Inverse
Bad Readable Content: CGW
Two factors that go into whether or not an online article can be considered “readable” include appearance and writing. As I was researching video game news, I came across an article published by Inverse titled, “Video Games are getting Hollywood VFX to Level Up.” The title immediately caught my attention because it combines two of my greatest passions: gaming and film production (including VFX). As I clicked the link, the page opened up and I was blown away. I had never seen a webpage so sleek and futuristic in my life. I was greeted with an animated GIF of characters from Alita: Battle Angel (2019) and The Lion King (2019) losing and regaining detail, while a Gears of War character remained in focus and in the center of the picture.
Besides the picture, the webpage was black and the text was white, which made it much easier for my eyes to see what I was reading, and the headings were all in orange/purple gradients, further adding to the futuristic look given by this article. I had not even read the article yet but I knew I wanted to.
The second article I found was from CGW, titled, “In-camera VFX: Shifting the Paradigm with Real-time tools.” As soon as the webpage loaded on my laptop, my face scrunched with disgust. I knew immediately that this article was made with mobile phones in mind, which is the one thing this article does better than Inverse’s. On a laptop, however, it took me more than one second to find the actual text I was supposed to read – and that is one second too long.
On desktop, CGW follows a two column format which features the main text and images on the left, and news, ads, and a search bar on the right side. Inverse’s webpage is so much cleaner: you scroll down and all you see are text and images, with the occasional ad thrown in between segments.
Speaking of images, Inverse’s use of images in their article make it so much easier to read compared to CGW’s article. Even though neither article has headings to break up the text – something the AU Government’s Content Guide site recommends – Inverse places their images in such a way that they almost replace headings. The first set of images is a comparison between a shot of Alita: Battle Angel in its early stage and its final form. The paragraph before the image mentioned Alita: Battle Angel‘s use of game engines while the paragraph after defines this process. Towards the end of the article, there is a picture of The Lion King remake in its early stage and Jon Favreau’s crew using Virtual Reality headsets. What does the paragraph after talk about? Jon Favreau using VR headsets and how the technology was used to help create The Lion King. CGW’s images, in contrast, are not interesting: you could not tell that the first image is a lighting demo if CGW did not tell you directly, and the third image of Epic’s CEO adds nothing to the article.
I find the writing in Inverse’s article much easier to read because each paragraph is split up evenly and has the occasional colored hyperlink, which gives my eyes a break from the giant blocks of white text. There are also large quotes colored in orange/purple gradients that break up the white text. Perhaps the best part about this article is the colored summary before the article officially begins. The first sentence is, “Simply playing Call of Duty won’t help Disney make the next Marvel movie.” It names one of the most popular gaming franchises and movie franchises of the 21st Century in one sentence, while also telling readers what this article is not about. It’s a great way to ease readers into learning about advanced technologies they may not have heard of before.
CGW, on the other hand, does not have a very well structured article whatsoever. The only well-made portion of the article is the introductory sentence that summarizes the article. It includes the phrase, “…we are currently in the midst of a great transition…” which helps readers understand that revolutionary changes to the film industry are on the horizon. The article itself, however, does not do a good job of keeping the readers hooked. The paragraphs are not equal in length, they have zero hyperlinks within their text, and they have zero quotes from any outside sources. They even placed the final image – a picture of Epic Game’s CEO – after the last paragraaph of the article. This can confuse readers, making them think there is more to the article when in reality it just ends abruptly.
I would recommend reading Inverse’s article (linked at the top of this blog) if you are interested in this topic. I have read it word-for-word twice and even still, I find it pleasing to look at. I cannot say the same about CGW’s article: I could not get through a few paragraphs without skimming plenty of sentences.