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A Sketch of the Digital Page

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posted on 2021-05-21, 17:22 authored by Artur Sedov
With today’s increasingly digitized culture, we are witnessing an ideological shift toward paperless communication and the emergence of the digital page. Yet, we continue to conceptualize the visual structure of information using the language of print, imposing unnecessary limitations. Recent efforts in e-book development most vividly highlight the need for study of the distinct features of the electronic format and, in turn, the associated range of effects on the way we interact with information. In the first half of the present paper, I situate the notion of the page in multiple socio-historic and theoretical contexts, rationalizing its broad viability as a visual solution for the digital display environment. In the second half, I describe some of the characteristics of digital pages, as viewed with a conventional personal computer, using examples from a cross-section of functional contexts, including Adobe Reader,, Twitter, YouTube, and Google Maps. Drawing on the field of information design, I apply visual analysis to general characteristics (an exploratory term comprising dimensions, blank space, colour, content, printability, and interactivity), composition, and typographic legibility. Based on a very limited data set, my findings indicate that digital pages currently have a distinctly vertical orientation, requiring extensive use of scrolling, and do not utilize the full area of the computer screen. They offer a dynamic multimedia experience that does not lend itself to printing. Simple, streamlined grid structures and proven proportional relationships are found to produce the most balanced and accessible compositions, while typographic legibility is found to suffer from excessive column width. I thus generate an introductory sketch of the basic structure of the digital page to help advance our understanding of the electronic interface



Ryerson University




Master of Professional Communication


Professional Communication

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type


Thesis Advisor

Jean Mason