Thursday, May 1, 2008

Click me, choose me

I wrote a post earlier today in which I continued a discussion on how disappointing (to some people) the progress on the Internet has been, how it's failed to solve big problems, how innovation seems to have been lost.

Maybe part of the reason is that we have used the Internet in ways like this. Here is an article on the 30 fastest declining occupations. Instead of writing them in an old, Web 1.0 list, the Boston Globe thought it would be more fun to put them in a gallery, so that each one could have its own page and a picture (check out the picture of wood, or the one with file folders).

Is anyone really going to click through all 34 pages to see every one of these? Having gotten all the way to page 33, are you then going to check out the fastest-growing jobs, another 33-page gallery? (This one features a guy listening to headphones to illustrate computer software engineers.)

And, just to pick on the Boston Globe a little more, here is something even more pointless: a gallery of 25 pages in which the reader is asked to participate in a click poll to determine, yes, which celebrity of a presented pair is taller. You can decide whether Ashlee Simpson or her sister is taller, or Sean Connery vs. Pierce Brosnan. (I'm surprised there isn't a legal disclaimer pointing out that your vote will not actually change the height of any celebrity.)

This is how we use this remarkable technology, for faux-interactive galleries and polls. Coming tomorrow to the Boston Globe: Which number is larger? Which country name has more occurrences of the letter 'e'? Whose tattoo is that? (Oops, they've already done the last one.)

1 comment:

Red Oak said...

Ach. What an unutterable waste of time. Sadly, they're probably giving their customer base what it wants - visuals whose purpose is to distract, not inform.

I guess I'm mistaken in my belief that the whole point of visual and graphical presentation is their usefulness for explaining some kinds of stuff - or explaining some kinds of stuff far more efficiently - than text-based modes. But for other kinds of stuff, simple text delivers the maximum amount of information in the minimum amount of time. (E.g., I've never understand the deal with most non-text blogging. Say what? You going to provide me with 1/8th the info for 4X the time investment? Why would I want to do that? Pretty colors and flashing lights? And don't get me started on the pointless abuse of flash animation.)

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