Friday, November 25, 2011

Broken Internets

As I'm sure is the case with many of you, I've been around the internet for a long time.  I recall, somewhat fondly the old websites that were basic text.  The simple bitmap images and logos.  The animated gifs.  It was ugly and content was either old or outdated by the time you found it.

How the times have changed.

Now content is uploaded by the minute.  Unfortunately this comes at a cost.  Not just financial cost but convenience.  One of my favorite websites to visit is a tech blog hosted by AOL by the name of Engadget.  In fact you'll find I left quite a blazing trail of opinions there if that's your cup of tea.

The community is not always friendly but its fun to join in the banter.  What keeps me going back however is not the community or the conversation.  Its the information.

Information which unfortunately takes a back seat to the format.  Content is key and you'll always see me put the content up front and easily accessible.  I put a lot of value in the content but it doesn't look like others feel the same way.

Take a look at this screenshot.  The browser window is maximized and the resolution is 180 X 1050 so its not really a small screen that cropped the image this way.  This is their format that seems overloaded with links ads and persuasions to view content other than what you came here for.

See that gray image at the bottom?  That's the START of the post.  You can't see a single word of the post that follows until you scroll.

Another one of my favorite websites is CNet.  Find the review hidden behind all the dang mandatory toolbars and popups.

If this was a single case I wouldn't say anything of it.  You just leave the website and find a better place.  It seems to be pretty universal though.  The popular excuse seems to be that its the "information age" and we are being overloaded with said "information."

I disagree.  Information is processed, organized and presented in context so as to be useful.  This is not the case.  This is just raw (often useless) data.  In fact its often data presented to you in an effort to harvest more data.

So even though it isn't popular to do so I applaud companies like Google and Apple in their efforts to promote simplicity and minimalism as frustrating and draconian as their efforts may seem at times.

Everyone else, take note.