Just came across this today —
From 2003, but very interesting interview with Mike Davidson, Art Director for the ESPN website. In particular:
One other unique aspect of ESPN.com is that we have built in the ability to lay our front page out differently depending on how big any piece of breaking news is. Essentially, we have four publishing modes: regular, twin-top, skirmish, and war. â€œRegularâ€ is pretty much how you see the page 90% of the timeâ€”a big top story and a group of headlines on the right. â€œTwin-Topâ€ is when we have two major stories of interest. In this case, we have our big top story and then a smaller top story box on the right.
I like that idea of having a few standard layouts that get interchanged depending on the effect we’re going for. And giving them names But maybe names that aren’t war-related.
If I were to map out the site right now, we have maybe 10 or more different layouts, some of which should probably go away – either because I created something that we don’t need or because we’ve changed our approach and the old pages need to be updated to look like the new ones.
No big deal, just wanted to share. I’ve started working on some of what Davidson talks about in the interview – moving away from tables for page layout to divs.