We Made a Brand New Lorem 2

written by andrew

screenshot of lorem 2

About ten years ago, Manoverboard launched Lorem 2 in order to provide a simpler and all around better tool for designers and developers who wanted to acquire “Lorem Ipsum” content. What the heck is this thing called “Lorem Ipsum”? If you’ve ever hired a designer or engaged a design studio to build a website, you’ve probably seen this Latin text that acts as a placeholder for real copy. That’s what it is.

The use of “Lorem Ipsum” can be thought of as a natural part of the design process. It stands in for and awaits the actual copy being lovingly crafted by a diligent writer. When you combine “Lorem Ipsum” copy with actual headers and titles, you might not even recognize that the text before you is “dummy” text. In some ways, this makes the design smart such that the focus of the viewer is on design and not on reading.

In this way, Lorem Ipsum is a proxy; helps to visually communicate a design concept. With “Lorem Ipsum” in place, typefaces, colors, and proximity of type and image elements can be better imagined and content hierarchy starts to make sense.

Just because it’s old, doesn’t mean it’s old. Actually it does.

When the site launched in 2008, there were only a few other “Lorem Ipsum” websites available. Most of them suffered from (and continue to suffer from) poor typography and difficulty in selecting the copy. Lorem 2 filled a substantial need for designers who needed to fill out their print or web projects with various types of short, long, and bulleted copy.

Despite little effort to promote the Lorem 2 site, it generates considerable traffic, which we believe is a testament to its continued usefulness to the design and development community. The site received about 72,000 visitors per year (or about 6,000 per month). One quarter of visitors are from the United States, 9% are from the United Kingdom, and 4% are from Canada. Interestingly, about 8% come from Colombia and 6% from India. Further, most visitors are on the site between 8 AM and 4 PM on weekdays. No surprises there, though folks in our industry are often known to be night owls. What is unusual is that visitors spend approximately seven minutes on the page — far more than the average of 10 seconds to a few minutes.

For a small site, some big UX, technical and design innovations

Working with a young and awesome designer on a student practicum with us, we did a full rethink of Lorem 2 from the ground up. The goal was to maintain the integrity of the tool and to make it even easier for visitors to grab “Lorem Ipsum” copy through the copy/paste function of any device, including smartphones.

After a few weeks of work, we launched a new site that boasted a number of innovations. First, we reduced the number of tabs from four (short text, short bulleted lists, long text, and long bulleted lists) to two. Less clicking on tabs should mean happier visitors. Next, we pushed the tried and true tagline — “An all-around better Lorem Ipsum experience” to the top and out of the way of busy mousing. We also made selectable type larger and more legible and, most interestingly, we made it relatively easy for us to swap out different typefaces on the site. This way, we can feature new typefaces on the site and perhaps drive a bit of traffic to a few of our favorite type foundries along the way.

We also rebuilt the entire identity based on our new Manoverboard rebranding. Lots of red, white, and blue but not in that order! (Actually, yes, in that exact order). And we corrected a few web typography issues here and there. Oh, and the web technologies we used to build the site? Static HTML, CSS and JavaScript — no databases, no content management systems, no APIs, and no muss and even less fuss.

Lorem 2 for me and you

The results: a massively improved new Lorem 2 that loads quickly, that is mobile friendly, that matches our internal brand guidelines, and that is more useful and more usable to more people. Sure, you could grab your “Lorem Ipsum” text from other older sites. But they mostly reek of benign neglect (as Lorem 2 did before this update) and represent a time when the web was just being discovered. If you’re a designer, developer, writer or typographer — or if you’re a fan of design, code, writing or type — we hope our new “Lorem Ipsum” experience will be useful and enjoyable.

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