Saturday, March 13, 2010

Something Things I Wish Websites Would Do For Me

It’s just a little button. But it would be so helpful. A real time saver.

I just finished reading an online article in this week’s New York Times Magazine. The Magazine’s articles tend to run many pages (NYTimes.com articles often run several pages). At the end, you have two choices to get to where you started. You can hit the back button however many times it takes to return to where you started. Or, you can hit Home or the Times logo to get to the main page and then navigate your way back to where you found the article and resume your surfing.

Why not a button to take you to the page that had the article’s hyperlink?

And while I'm at it, though I think I may have written this gripe before, websites, quit making me click to "continue reading this article" unless it is really long as discussed above. Advertisers have to be on to this page view scam. Big offenders recently are AJC.com and CreativeLoafing.com. Stop it.

4 comments:

fermicat said...

I hate the multi-page internet articles, or the blog posts that continue "below the fold". The "read more" and "contract post" options are so much less annoying (it reveals or hides more text without changing the page you were on - see fivethirtyeight.com for examples of this).

I also don't like internet shopping sites that only display a few items per page and make you keep clicking to see the rest of their stuff. I want it all on one page!

Posol'stvo the Medved said...

Well, there are reasons why all of these sites do what they do. But the one I want to address is that wish item you asked for -- a button to take you back to the page that had the link to it. Considering that a link to an article could have come from just about anywhere -- a page within the site, an external reference, etc. -- such a function begins to get complicated. Sure, when you are going in and then coming right back out again, the page you came from is easy to determine. But how about this... you enter an article, read it, follow a link in the side bar to read something else, and then hit the back button to get back to the article.

Now. Where does this magic button take you? To the article you backed from? Or the original referring article?

I could come up with several other scenarios that complicate it in other ways. The fact is, that magic button - it would be very difficult to have it do exactly what you expected it to every single time. Trust me -- we have banged our heads against this time and time again, but it would be like asking for a single button that did everything -- printed, bookmarked, forward, backward -- and just knew what you really wanted to do by reading your mind.

Well, maybe not that difficult. Still...

Thomas said...

I use the "Print View" on a lot of long articles to get it all onto a single page.

Dave said...

Brin, Page and Jobs, the new Trinity can do anything. Poof! I want it Pos.

I use "single page" and print view where available Thomas, but they often aren't. Slate has the former, but only at the bottom of the first page. Why isn't it at the top where it would be of use?