We love squares too.
When I read Biz Stone’s article about Super new feature Strips, it immediately resonated with what we’ve been developing for the past 18 months at adsy.me, i.e. a brand new way to create micro websites in a snap. And the reason why is pretty simple: we love squares too!
Obviously, neither we nor Biz Stone (not even the folks at Instagram or Vine) are the first to fall in love with this exquisitely balanced format. You have probably heard of the Fibonacci spiral, the Golden Mean and some associated concepts. Leonard Fibonacci was an Italian mathematician, who published his iconic sequence of numbers in 1202. More recently it was featured in the Da Vinci code.
As we can read on Wikipedia “the first two numbers in the Fibonacci sequence are either 1 and 1, or 0 and 1, depending on the chosen starting point of the sequence, and each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two.”
In the grid illustration above you see how a rectangle is created with squares whose side lengths are successive Fibonacci numbers. You also see how a spiral is made from quarter-circles tangent to the interior of the squares.
We even found this illustration which will remind Biz of his past venture ;-)
There have also been rumours that the design of the Apple logo follows the golden ratio, even if some articles debunked this mathematical myth.
But to be honest, as far as we are concerned, we didn’t choose squares because of some Illuminati-driven subconscious justifications. We simply thought it would be the perfect format for a truly Wysiwyg user experience. Let me explain why. On adsy.me, you can choose the background of your square-shaped pages, which might be an image. Then, using a function we call the “magic touch”, you can literally paint hyperlinks on any part of your page, leading to another page or to an external target.
Originally, we had opted for a portrait rectangle format but the issue was that we had to insert black bars at the top or on the sides to scale the creations properly from one device to the other (smartphones, tablets, desktops,…) to keep the functional connection between the links on the foreground and the illustrations in the background. Had we chosen to scale the pages in a traditional responsive way (without those black bars to respect width vs height proportions), we would have disconnected the links from the objects to which they were visually attached.
But I didn’t like that half-baked “solution”, I wanted to find a way to create content on a cheap android phone with a small screen that would have exactly the same proportions on a high-end smartphone or on desktop computers. That’s why, a few hours before launching, I asked my partner Alex to give up portrait rectangles and design a square-shaped builder.
In our most recent release, we have even introduced a way to embed adsy micro websites in a chromeless square-shaped iframe. On our blog, you can see both examples (we would have liked to embed them here but I guess we should ask embed.ly to add us to their list of supported content providers or ask Ev a favour) By the way the adsy we’re showcasing on that page was partly created with visuals from Super, a perfect square match.
Squares are the ideal format to create cross-platform content cards in a multi-device world. You can even scale them to the max to serve as a decent full-blown desktop website. See this example. You can embed them in native apps, in the side bar of a blog, on the dashboard of a car, on the door of a smart fridge, share the URL via tweets, Facebook posts, email, messaging apps, sms,…
I wonder what Fibonacci would have said of Instagram, Vine, Super or adsy’s love for squares ;-) I think his legacy deserves a proper spiral to close the article.