Web-Conscious Content Experiences

by July 2, 2008

In the July/August 2008 issue of Interactions magazine, I wrote an article on Web-Conscious Content Experiences about how content pages can be better optimized for the Web ecosystem. Here's a preview:

web form design"In today’s search-driven, social, and distributed Web, people are finding their way to content through an increasing number of distinct experiences. Content-aggregator sites like digg and del.icio.us, display surfaces like Facebook and MySpace, content creation sites like blogs and wikis, search engines like Google and Yahoo!, and communication tools like email and instant messaging are all responsible for an increasing amount of traffic to Web content pages.

But when people arrive, the Web page they get isn’t optimized for these circumstances. Instead, the vast majority of content pages online remain more concerned about their place within a website rather than their place on the Web. These pages are designed as if they were primarily accessed from a website’s home page or a carefully thought-out selection from the site’s information architecture.

While these are all worthwhile considerations, they go only so far. In fact, studies conducted on content pages have shown that too much of an insular approach can actually prevent sites from achieving their goal of increased engagement and returning customers. So instead of presenting content only as part of a specific website, consider presenting it as part of the entire Web as well."

Check out the full article in the printed version of Interactions magazine or access the PDF of the article if you are an ACM member.