Teaching Examples

Extra clicking, fair or foul?
October 11, 2006, 9:20 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The New York Times and The Washington Post both do it — break a longer article into two, three, or more pieces. You can’t read it all on one page. You have to … click … wait for ads to load … aarrgh …

Dan Lockton wrote a good post about this (and got some thoughtful comments too) in his neat blog, Architectures of Control in Design:

I can see that psychologically, an article which looks shorter may be glanced at by a casual reader — who may then become interested enough to continue — whereas one which looks longer may be ignored completely.

You see, not everyone hates this break-up style. I hate it when the site is particularly cluttered with ads. If the page has anything on it that floats or unfurls or otherwise moves around, I will never, ever, click to see the rest of the article. Just not worth it.

Is it sleazy to try to get extra impressions this way? Or is it a reasonable practice in the pursuit of revenues?

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3 Comments so far
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I’d say there are far more sinister ways to impose ads on readers (those obnoxious Flash ads that float over content). I think I can live with breaking up a long story, though it does admittedly detract from the user experience.

Comment by Danny Sanchez

I wonder if there was a way they could do this with ajax, so that advancing the page wouldn’t actually load another new page, but only the story.

I do admit that I’m torn, because I hate scrolling down five screens to get to the end of a story. I like the way the IHT handles stories, though.

And I’m with Danny about those obnoxious (good word!) Flash ads that float over a screen. Nothing will prompt me to close a window faster. And I’ve noticed they’re becoming much more common on news sites.

Comment by Murley

I agree that the IHT site handled this well, as far as advancing the pages goes, under their old design. But they have changed that now — they handle article pages like everyone else does.

Comment by Mindy McAdams

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