Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Insidious Spread of Summary View

Is it just me, or are more blogs suddenly switching to the "summary view" (a.k.a. "more after the jump") main page display?

DCist, with the rest of the -ist network, switched over this week to a multiple-choice main page template, which defaults to Summary view (a la Metroblogging DC), which shows you the full entry (that is, barring any manually-inserted "continued" links) for the first couple of entries, then a short summary that forces you to a continued link, no matter how short the entry is.

At least they offer you a preference for "Full" view, which gives you complete entries (well, at least the portion before any manually created "continue" links), though the preference doesn't stick for me:


Like I said in my work blog back in July, I don't like the "More after the jump" construction, except for very limited cases (really long entries, spoilers, NSFW content, or pic or Flash-heavy entries). In most cases, it looks like people (and when I say people, I mean blog networks) who are trying to squeeze out an extra pageview by forcing you to click through.

There is the problem, of course, of long pages and big, empty sidebar gutters, but I think this is a problem that troubles designers more than real people. I, for one, would rather scroll a bit more than have to keep clicking. And clicking. And clicking.

Additionally, if you're going to force a truncated view of the main page entries, you could at least show more of them than you would in a flat view. Otherwise, what's the point?

It looks like Silicon Alley Insider is taking a similar tack, except they seem to be taking a giant step backwards -- they've taken the blog and made it look like an old-fashioned Web page:


The center column content, which is the main content, is all blog entries from the same blog, but they're only showing 3-line summaries, again forcing you to click through to the article. Though I think the impetus here isn't necessarily trying to squeeze out another pageview -- it's more so they can make room to cram more crap onto the page. But in doing so, they've managed to remove any of the, you know, useful bits from the page.

Anyway, boo.

(Now has anyone seen my Technorati multiple tag entry box for Greasemonkey? I've lost it and I can't seem to replace it. That's annoying.)


media concepts said...

My blog guru told me that bloggers should use what Blogger calls expandable post summaries so as not to have an interminable index page full of full-length posts. I assume that's the same thing as what you call summary view,k where the reader has to click to read the rest of the post. It's a much neater way for readers to scroll through a blogger's posts. It never occurred to me that this would be a sneaky way to generate more page views. For anyone who writes posts more than a few lines in length, I think that using expandable post summaries is useful and more user-friendly.

Aileen said...

I'm with you, Joe. I hate the "more after the jump" link. Would much rather see the entire post and keep scrolling...

Joelogon said...

MediaConcepts: I'm going to have to disagree with your guru on this one.

Aileen: Fight the power, sister.

Improbulus said...

Technorati tagger fixed now - it was Blogger doing some changes to their post editor behind the scenes on Friday. Just download & install the updated script from the same place & it'll be fine.

Joelogon said...

Improbulus -- thanks for the update. I figured it was something like that. It works fine now.