Adactio: Journal—Content First

There’s a general agreement that the “mobile” user is not to be trifled with; give them the content they want as quickly as possible ‘cause they’re in a hurry. But the corollary does not hold true. Why do we think that the “desktop” user is more willing to put up with having unnecessary crap thrown at them?

Unnecessary page cruft is being interpreted as damage and routed around with tools like the Readability bookmarklet, Safari’s Reader functionality, and Instapaper. These services exist partly to free up content from having a single endpoint but they also serve to break content free from the shackles of stifling overwrought containers. This isn’t anything new, of course; we’ve been here before with RSS. But the existence of these new reader-empowering tools should be taken as a warning …and a challenge—how can we design for our content in such a way that the reader won’t need or want to reach for Readability or Instapaper?

via Adactio: Journal—Content First.

3 thoughts on “Adactio: Journal—Content First

  1. I’d be interested to know if the proverbial “regular people” love things like Instapaper and Readability as much as us geeks do. My hunch is that many “regular people” actually prefer the page cruft.

    Of course, just because they prefer something that’s bad for them doesn’t mean we should give it to them.

  2. For me it’s about efficiency. When I use Google Reader, I get all my sites/blogs in one place. I don’t have to type in any addresses or click on my bookmarks menu over and over. Saves time and keeps my focus. I assume that’s why everyone uses these other things too. Although, with feed readers so easy to use & so established for several years… I don’t understand why people use twitter like it’s an RSS feed.

    The only thing I can’t do in G Reader…. is comment & have the comment sent to the site.

  3. I use a feed reader only to tell me when there’s new content available for me to read, I rarely ever actually read things in the feed reader itself. If I’m going to take any time to look at something, I generally like to do it on the actual website, with images and full formatting.

    There are a ton of websites out there that, frankly, don’t provide the greatest reading experience. With a lot of news sites you’re no better off reading from a feed reader than the actual website. But for design and personal blogs, I think the content is enhanced by the personality provided by the actual website. It provides a tone and personality that reminds you who’s content it is, feelings that are lost when you strip the content away from the site.

    I think if someone needs or wants to use Instapaper or Readability to access content on a site, that site’s design is flawed. That site is probably trying to push too much peripheral content at the user.

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