Monday, November 30, 2009

Two Unfortunate Trends

Of course, there's way more than two--but two that have caught my attention lately as I browse the interwebs are these, each of them annoying in its own way:

1. Multi-Page Lists

If you're going to give me a list of Ten Important Things Your Doctor Is Too Stupid to Know So You're Probably Doomed, then for crying out loud, give me the #@$%! list! Don't expect me to click a link or two, then bring up Item One with a row of icons below it for Items Two through Ten. I can pretty much guarantee you, I will run out of patience before Item Three. Indeed, I might well call it quits at Item One, when I see all of the scrolling and clicking that awaits me, and just take my chances with my doctor. If you're going to give me a list, give me a list--Items One through Ten, right there in front of me.

2. Pointless Videos

I enjoy a funny, poignant, provocative, or entertaining video as much as the next guy, and maybe even more. But the interwebs today seems plagued with a plethora of pointless videos--by which I mean videos that could just as easily been written pieces. A recent CNet Downloads Dispatch included a link to their list of Top Five Worst Downloads. Fun! So I click on the link and am taken to...a video. Which means first, a commercial. Already, I could have skimmed a written list during the commercial sponsorship. There was nothing wrong with the video, and the presenter was charming enough, but neither was there any reason for the video to be a video. The graphics consisted mainly of screen shots of the software dogs zooming in behind the presenter. There were no demos or anything else that required a video presentation. So it amounts to a time-sink: I could have read the copy and looked at screenshots in half the time it took to play the video. And I wouldn't have had to shut off my music to do so.

In both cases, the intent to me seems to be to pad, to dally, to make something small seem bigger than it is. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the reason for that is to keep eyeballs on a given site for a longer time, so as to please advertisers. If there are many people like me, however (and experience teaches that there aren't), these sites may in fact be losing audiences by being dilatory time-wasters. In which case, the trends should go away. Sooner would be better.

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