Content has been at the heart of Web design for me ever since I built my first sites back in the mid-1990s. (That was after working a few years as a print journalist designing news pages with managers and peers drumming into my head that visual communication was a means to an end and that end was to tell the news of the day.)
When it comes to curation, I think there’s good news and bad news.
Curation is “the art of plucking all the good stuff from a superabundance of crap.” (That’s the Cranky definition actor and dilettante media analyst Joseph Gordon-Levitt gave in a recent Esquire magazine interview.)
I’m catching up on some summer reading â€¦ from four years ago. In The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, Barry Schwartz highlights some research that’s particularly relevant for the online user experience.
The 1995 version of me believed what he read about the inevitable and simultaneous increase in both hardware firepower and available content and he got all hot and bothered picturing millions of users joyfully surfing waves of data just for the fun of it.
The 2007 version of me thinks that the younger me was cute, but to quote Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now: “Charlie don’t surf.” Oh sure, the verb “surf” held up over the years because users do in fact glide from page to page and site to site, but it turns out that folks on the Web in the 21st century are as goal-oriented as a soccer team.