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A client of mine is a large newspaper and they are now doing some changes to their article template.

One of the things they want to change is the byline so that it doesn't take up to much space. Today it's placed below the main image between intro text and main text.

Current byline

After I redesigned the byline, I placed it between headline and image. My client is not convinced that this is a good place for the byline. I realised that I might be short on good arguments for why it should be at the top - so hopefully someone may give me some more insights on this topic.

Byline between headline and main image

This is not about if you should show a byline or not (and I don't agree with Nielsen Normans argument on this point). It's about where you should place it.

My arguments are:

  • Aesthetically it looks better at the top.
  • It kind of "gets lost" in the middle. Especially now that the beginning of the body text is full of advertisement.
  • You can quickly see when it was published, last updated and who wrote it.
  • (my statement:) It will not separate headline from image. (my client was concerned about this)
  • It makes the link between introduction text and body text stronger

Does anyone have arguments for why it should remain below image or above?

At the bottom of the article we will have another byline with more info and image of the author.

  • I agree that title, teaser and byline should be strongly linked in the interests of clarity, just as the photo credit sits in an integrated caption. Separating the byline with other content looks messy, is confusing and devalues the author. – themarytodd May 21 '16 at 6:11
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    I prefer bylines right after the article title or at the bottom of the article. Anywhere else it "gets lost". Putting it at the bottom decreases the author's presence and exposure, effectively making the author a less important aspect of the article. – obelia May 21 '16 at 20:37
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I agree with your points, it gets lost in the middle and the hierarchy of the page no longer makes sense. When it's at the top of the page, the hierarchy renders it more important whereas when it's in the middle it comes across as just a piece of information that might be useful.

When reading a book or an essay, we don't look for the author or publishing information halfway through. As a use case: someone that's speedily going through a few stories to find a specific one will click on each article page, where quickly knowing the author's name and latest update time is more important than seeing the start of the headline earlier.

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I think there's a bit of context lost in your captures, but strictly basing on them, the answer is easy: in the old version, the byline could either belong to the photo above or what appears to be an ad, so it's totally out of place.

Also, those giant social media buttons on top of an ad are really confusing, they're grabbing attention to something else on a page that is already crowded, which is helped by a caption on an image, then 1 line of text, then a photo of someone with lots of blank space, then giant social media buttons, then ads.

with all this being said, I fail to see how anyone would be able to concentrate on the article, and barring testing, I doubt this layout will pass many tests.

On the other side, your layout looks clear and to the point. It's clear for me that Kristian Ervik wrote that article, and if I need that information, I'll know where to find it.

Besides, the current trending is to do what you did or on a side at the same position than the main story check some examples from different countries:

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I understand the point of the client. They want the title and hero image to be together, to grab maximum attention. However that'll look look badly formatted:

enter image description here

By inserting a bit of text and the full width horizontal rule, you create some white space and a bit more visual balance. The horizontal rule indicates the width of the content, which is a bit wider than the headline text would make you think, so the page looks more of a consistent width. it also bridges the difference between text and visuals.

Howver I can see why they think it separates too much. A horizontal rule is generally used to show where one part of content ends and another begins. From that perspective, yes it totally separates the headline from the image.

Perhaps a more minimalist approach could work: enter image description here I removed the horizontal rule, and put all the text on one line.The spacing between the headline and the image is the same as the space between the 2 lines of headline text. So it follows the same rhythm.

I lightened some of the text and I shrank the icons so it's still visually light enough to function as whitespace. Perhaps the share buttons are a bit too small now, but i'd go for wider links instead of larger squares.

I'd personally also remove the twitter icon from the byline. Put the writer's name, and have it link to wherever they prefer. The twitter icon is a tad distracting (if you MUST have an icon there, try grayscale) and it's unfair versus the other writer that doesn't have as many social media accounts.

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