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Archive for May, 2006

A Print View World

There was a SNL skit once which showed a news reporter on CNBC (or something similar) trying to do a report. Every couple of seconds new things would appear on the page. A new scroll at the bottom going from right to left, a new scroll on top of that going from left to right, a new window on the right, and after a while he started to get inundated with stuff and is left with a tiny box in the middle to speak to the viewers. It was a funny skit and somewhat true to form. The reason I bring this up is I feel this same frustration while reading some of these sites these days. The actual content of the page has been so minimized and spread across multiple pages it's almost unbearable and I begin finding myself in search of the "print view" button before even beginning with the site.

Not sure about others but I know when I see this type of design where the content of importance is almost non-existent, I am very put off. In my opinion you begin to alienate your user base. Now I understand that these content sources must make money, nothing is for free. But I would argue there are ways to accomplish advertising and there are ways to be obnoxious. Even in some cases, you'll find that some of these sites have very little ads, it's just the layout.

So in no particular order I monitored some of the sites which came across on Digg. I analyzed a number of them setting my resolution back to 800 x 600 and snapping some screenshots. I viewed the article in the original design and when available in the print view design. Again this is just my opinion, I'm not a designer or a marketing person, I just have my own views.

Case 1: http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/apr2006/sb20060406_865110.htm

printview.JPG

vs.

printview1.JPG

Looking at the first image vs the second image you can't tell it's the same story much less the same site. Can you even tell what the story is about? I always give a sigh of relief when I see the second image, why can't we just have it that way to begin with? There are ads in that print version, heck put up a left nav and throw some more ads on there, it's still better than the first one.

Case 2: http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/ptech/04/06/pleo.pet/index.html?section=cnn_tech

printview2.JPG

VS.

printview3.JPG

This is showing that it's not always the ads which take up the space on the article. As you can see there are only a couple of ads in the first image but in the second I can see more than just the intro paragraph.

Case 3: http://news.designtechnica.com/article10019.html

printview4.JPG

VS.

printview5.JPG

Again, not very much ads, just a lot of misused space which cuts down on the reason i'm there, to read the article.

This is also why RSS becomes very important to the end user, with a feed I do not have to put up with this, just give me the content and iI'll display it as I want.
So here's what I suggest, what would be great is to create a firefox extension which will automatically display these pages in the print view by default. Not entirely sure how it will work but why can't I click on a link for an article and the first page I see is the print view page? Anyways, if anyone wants to create that I'll definitely use it!

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Two days ago my post was submitted to Digg and Reddit, and although didn’t get on the homepage of either one, it still garnered some traffic. Everyone always talks about the digg effect and what it does to their clicks and how their site can’t handle the additional traffic and even how to avoid it if were to ever happen to you. But not everyone can get on the home page of these sites, it becomes the carrot that every webmaster/blogger/techie wants to achieve. But just because you don’t get on the homepage doesn’t mean you still can’t experience some of the same joys. But nobody speaks about this phenomenon. Nobody speaks about the “non-effect.” What is the “non-effect?” Well basically it’s what I’ve experienced, I would describe it as the shrapnel from the actual effect..

After hitting Digg and Reddit my site experience a pretty major jump in traffic. Not major jump is all relative I suppose. The amount of traffic I was receiving previous was anywhere from 5 to 10 hits a day, once it hit this is the spike I saw.

stats1.JPG

Now all of this traffic wasn’t from just Digg and Reddit. As a consequence of the non-effect I also got picked up in a news.com blog article which generated some hits as well as being number 10 in the Hot Blogs of the Day. Here’s a break down of the amount of hits I got from each across the three days.

stats11.JPG

As you can see Digg took the crown here, but not by much. Now remember, this is the non-effect so that means I got links from people surfing around on the particular sites and then clicking over to me. Which brings me to my next point. Although I got the most hits from Digg, Reddit actually provided more referral paths than Digg.

stats2.JPG

Based solely off of these findings it seems that the reddit users do more browsing of the site and will likely find your link buried somewhere deep, as apposed to Digg users who will typically only go one or two pages in. Hopefully you find these stats interesting, it’s always fun to watch your content being linked to and discussed. I thought that these findings were interesting enough to share with the rest of the folks who will be stuck with the non-effect of these sites.

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It looks like I’m number 11 10 on the list of Hot Blogs Today. Just barely made, and I didn’t even need a link from Scoble. 🙂

I got picked up on Digg and Reddit. I even got picked up by the news.com blog.

What’s really interesting is the traffic patterns that i’m seeing coming from Digg and Reddit and how they compare together. As the traffic dies down from my previous post I’ll be sure to post some findings. Not sure that you would call it the “Digg Effect” or “Reddit Effect” since I didn’t get on the homepage but it shows what the “non-effect” can do.

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As a avid PC user, i've been watching the mac progression very closely for the past couple of years, waiting to make the move into the world of Apple. Since the introduction of the Intel based notebooks I've been itching to jump. But for some reason I have been holding off. Not sure why… not sure if it's the price point or some other deep-seeded reason. After hearing about the new line of Macbooks I ran out to my local Apple Store and I must say, the new Macbooks are just perfect.

They actually didn't have any on display but after asking someone they gladly brought one from the back. It was the black model and I fell in love. It was great, because as I was in awe I noticed all of the other employees started gathering around it, this was the first time they had obviously seen it as well. A couple of things I noticed:

  • Very lightweight and the screen resolution was little lower than I would like but at 1280 x 800 it still rocks.
  • The screen had a very nice shine to it. If you familiar with the new Dell glossy screen, it's very much like that.
  • The keyboard is a bit different. A much nicer feel.
  • The mouse key is also new. It has a softer click, much more smooth.
  • The finish on the black Macbook does not have the rough finish. Which is preferred in my opinion.

Is anyone else impressed that Apple can announce a new product in the morning and by lunch they are selling it?

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