The pull quote, is a typographic device used to draw attention into an article or to highlight a key topic, they are used extensively in print and newspaper design, and even in web design. As users become more mobile though and spreads have become columns of type, I wonder if the pull quotes days are numbered.
The user behavior pull quotes cater to is scanning. A reader or user scans the page and the pull quote stands out, it’s a quick easy ready, usually a particular salient bit of the story, to get the reader to start reading the article. The question is, does scanning exist on mobile? Do users scroll to the bottom of an article, then back to the top? Or do we tap and read? I am going to argue its more of the latter
We consume editorial is so many different ways on mobile, whether it’s a twitter link, an App, Facebook post, or email. The one consistency is the vertical scrolling of a single narrow text column. I have noticed however that when reading content, a pull quote actually breaks the flow of an article, largely because the pull quote is not contextual to where the reader is in the text. Reading content today is a quick affair, we scroll through as we read. Is the use of pull quotes just another item in the long list of skeuomorphs we should abandon? If the behavior that justifies the use of pull quotes is becoming less common, shouldn’t their use? As a designer who got his start in print, Im sad to say, I think it is time to retire the pull quote. Farewell.