Convergence gone wrong?

The Williams-Sonoma catalog arrived in my home mailbox yesterday. Why is that relevant to OJR? Well, here’s what I found when I opened it, then saw the second page:

Page scan

That’s right. A picture of an embedded video window. In a print catalog.

Should I be inspired by one more example of cross-medium design convergence? After years of battling print-side folks who wanted to apply print design techniques to online publications, should I be happy to see the online medium influencing print design, for a change?

Or should I be appalled to see one medium’s design conventions applied in a medium where it does not fit, even if it is in the other direction than I am used to seeing that happen.

Mostly, though, I just feel… mocked. That “play” arrow is just sitting there, mocking me, because no matter how much I want to click it, press it, smash it with my fist, no video is ever going to play on that page.

Of course, I’m no stranger to that feeling while reading the Williams-Sonoma catalog. No matter how hard I try, I’m never going to get a roast chicken to look like this [page 13 of same catalog], either.


About Robert Niles

Robert Niles is the former editor of OJR, and no longer associated with the site. You may find him now at


  1. says:

    they’re driving people to their website – making it clear there is a video online… you missed the mark on this one.

  2. says:

    The photo of the video on their website accompanies a blurb about the videos on their website. I don’t see a problem here.

  3. I know that they’re trying to drive people to the website, and, as I wrote, part of me is very encouraged by the incorporation of Web design elements into the printed page. But, at the same time, seeing that unclickable “clickable element” gets under my skin a bit.

    Funny thing is (to me, at least), I wouldn’t feel the same way about a full-screen shot of their video page. It’s just the embedded video element, pulled from *that* context and placed within a printed page which threw me. Go figure. I find it interesting how the Internet is reshaping readers’ expectations of functionality in design.