India Uncut

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Pagination doesn't get any worse than this

Pagination, in internet parlance, as anyone who has worked for an internet publishing company would know, is the practice of dividing articles into several pages so as to make them user-friendly. There is this theory that mountains of text are user-unfriendly, so a 2200-word-article, for example, could be divided into three pages of about 800 words each. Some people, like me, prefer all their text on the same page, and it's polite to give them that option, as the Indian Express does.

Now forget user-friendliness -- pagination increases pageviews. And for some web publications pageviews are a hugely attractive metric. And so, to show you an example of pagination that is decidedly user-unfriendly, I direct you to this piece on the Times of India site: "Porn star Jameson replaces Spears."

You will note that this news piece consists of exactly three sentences. And how many pages does this have? Three. (You will also notice that all three pages have, as of now, pictures of Spears, but two of the captions indicate that Jameson is the person in the picture.)

Making readers click twice to read a three-sentence story is as bad as bad manners could get on the internet. And it gives a wrong impression of how much they engage their readers. I hope advertisers will be smart enough to see through their numbers, and that readers will punish them for making them work so hard to read a story.

I'm not holding my breath, though.
amit varma, 6:55 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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