Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Skimming The News

Having been a consumer of on-line news for many years with almost no print publication in my media diet, I am no longer able to compare the relative merits of the two. Apparently, online newspapers haven't got the formula right.

Kirk McElhearn reminds of something I did instinctively with a real newspaper and have never done online - "skimming" and yes, it is a distinct loss in terms of user experience.

When you read a newspaper, you use special strategies called "skimming" and "scanning" to navigate the pages. Skimming means you glance over pages until you find things you want to look at more closely, reacting to certain words or photos, and scanning is taking a closer look, reading for gist, or reading introductions and conclusions that give you more information and often help you decide whether you want to read an entire article. With online newspapers, however, you don't have this option.

It's amazing how users can get conditioned to a less than optimal experience over time.

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