Please Stop With the Slideshow-Type Online “Articles”

Posted: March 22, 2015 in Web Design
Tags: , , , ,

For an example of a terrible slideshow-type online "article," check out this one on answers.com

For an example of a terrible slideshow-type online “article” check out this one on answers.com

Like many of you, I read constantly with most of that being online. I save numerous article links daily for later reading and then enjoy sitting back in the evening in my favorite recliner browsing what I’ve bookmarked. That’s how I learn the best and it’s always been a joy. However, far too many of those online articles lately – at least of the list variety – have taken an annoying turn to the point where I am likely to click away and forget about pursuing the content once I see the format.

I’m talking about online articles that are set up in a slideshow format that require you to click through to see each tiny little additional paragraph or photo, frequently burdening the reader with multiple clicks, scrolling and other annoyances over and over again to make it through the content which could have and should have all been put on a single page.

Here’s what should happen when I see a link to an article of interest:

  1. I click on the link to the article.
  2. The article appears in its entirety on one page.

Instead, for some warped reasons filled with a total lack of respect for the user’s experience, here is what I get far more often these days, especially if the article is something like “The Top 10…” or “Places To Go for…” or “Amazing Photos of…” etc.

  1. I click on the link to the article.
  2. A page takes forever to load due to ads or even videos in a sidebar loading and automatically playing (a whole separate practice worthy of 39 lashes).
  3. I have to scroll down to see some frame with a photo or text in it because junky banner ads fill the top of the screen.
  4. I have to scroll down more to find a “Next” button.
  5. I click the Next button.
  6. The button only adds caption info to the existing photo which I have to scroll back up to see.
  7. I scroll back down to the Next button again (or to track down some random unwanted sidebar video/audio playing to stop it).
  8. I click the Next button.
  9. Another page takes a long time to load.
  10. Repeat steps 3-9 for every single photo or text block in the so-called article.

Of course, like most Web users, I’ll abandon such nonsense long before I get to the end of the desired content. It just isn’t worth my time or growing frustration with each unnecessary click or requirement to scroll.

If you’d like an example of this wretched type of page in action, check out the article called “Dogs Who Have No Clue How Big They Are.” As a big dog lover, I couldn’t resist the link when it showed up in my Facebook feed. My takeaway from the pain of trying to get through all the photos was “Forget you, Answers.com. I will not follow links to your site any more.”

Granted, this is a first-world problem and it may sound incredibly petty to rant about having to click and scroll unnecessarily to view content on a Web page when most people on earth have far more serious things to ponder and deal with. But if you’re building content for online consumption, you must, must, must be cognizant of the user experience! It’s your job, for crying out loud. It’s what you do. You either need to do it well or not do it at all. Is that too much to ask? I don’t think so.

Just give me the content I am coming for in the most efficient, user-friendly manner possible. That’s it! Do that and I will appreciate you, enjoy your site, most likely come back to it and share its contents with others to enjoy. Don’t force me into your bad experience because you think it’s cool or the latest thing or you’re trying to show off your incredibly mediocre (if not horrid) design skills. Just give me the content and let me be on my way. The one exception – Slideshare.net. They know how to do it well and have been doing so for years. Them I trust – others, forget it.

Web page designers and content creators, know this: If you place obstacles between me and the content I’m coming for, I’m going to leave before consuming your content and I’m going to make a note not to trust your links to content in the future. (This also applies to forcing me to register to download a white paper because I know it just means you’re gong to spam me thereafter. It also includes splitting up a text-based article into numerous “pages” instead of putting it all on one page. If you’re afraid of how long your text-based article is, then write less.) Don’t fall victim to any craze in Web design without first and foremost considering the user experience.

Fellow readers and consumers of content, if you share my disdain for this type of content display which only wastes your valuable time, then let those responsible for such pages know how you feel. Demand a user-friendly, efficient experience and do not patronize those sites which disrespect you and your time so much as to force you into such a poor experience.

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