Design of the Times: Khoi Vinh and NYT.com

Why does the Web version of a newspaper look so different from the print version? It may sound like a simple-minded question, but the answer cuts to the heart of the difference between the print and the online experience. According to Khoi Vinh, design director of NYTimes.com, many people still consider print "canonical": solid and tactile and official in a way that the Web is not. On the other hand, the Web allows for a dizzying variety of user behaviorsforcing Web designers to be nimble in predicting and reacting.


In his Big Think interview, Vinh describes one of the most successful features he's introduced to the Times website, as well as a few features that were mysteriously and unexpectedly unpopular. He also expands on the subject of modern design more generally, describing it as a "conversation" between designer and user rather than a declarative statement which, once published, cannot be easily retracted.

Vinh ventures into personal territory as well, suggesting that the family disruption he experienced as a result of immigrating to the U.S. from Vietnam in 1971 sparked his desire to "put the world in order" through design. Finally, in a lighter moment, he explains the design-geek sport of "layer tennis," a spirited game of which he recently played through his blog, Subtraction.com.

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

Elizabeth Warren's plan to forgive student loan debt could lead to an economic boom

A plan to forgive almost a trillion dollars in debt would solve the student loan debt crisis, but can it work?

Photo credit: Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren has just proposed a bold education reform plan that would forgive billions in student debt.
  • The plan would forgive the debt held by more than 30 million Americans.
  • The debt forgiveness program is one part of a larger program to make higher education more accessible.
Keep reading Show less

Banned books: 10 of the most-challenged books in America

America isn't immune to attempts to remove books from libraries and schools, here are ten frequent targets and why you ought to go check them out.

Nazis burn books on a huge bonfire of 'anti-German' literature in the Opernplatz, Berlin. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Culture & Religion
  • Even in America, books are frequently challenged and removed from schools and public libraries.
  • Every year, the American Library Association puts on Banned Books Week to draw attention to this fact.
  • Some of the books they include on their list of most frequently challenged are some of the greatest, most beloved, and entertaining books there are.
Keep reading Show less

Supreme Court to hear 3 cases on LGBT workplace discrimination

In most states, LGBTQ Americans have no legal protections against discrimination in the workplace.

(Photo by Andres Pantoja/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The Supreme Court will decide whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also applies to gay and transgender people.
  • The court, which currently has a probable conservative majority, will likely decide on the cases in 2020.
  • Only 21 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws effectively extending the Civil Rights of 1964 to gay and transgender people.
Keep reading Show less