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Page views, clicks and old-fashioned jumps

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Johnny Dangerously, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    We've had several threads about clicks -- the meaningless kind and otherwise. I wanted to start one about something I've been thinking about lately.

    For years, especially after consultants came to the papers where I worked and made changes (or full-blown redesigns), I heard about how jumps were bad. We've had threads about long-form storytelling, and I think we all agree there's a place for it, so I'm not really interested in that debate. I'm more curious what you think about the shift in mindset I've noticed.

    Jumps were bad, right? They required the reader to *gasp!* turn the page, maybe back and forth! So much effort!

    And yet, the default version of stories online is to require several clicks (for more page views) to get through the whole story. Isn't that the online equivalent of jumps? I know you have to use more muscles to hold a paper and turn its pages than if you simply click to the next online page, but it seems to me all of a sudden making people "turn" the page often is good, and it used to be all but verboten.

    I know I'm oversimplifying, but it just strikes me as interesting. Anyone else?
  2. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    No, you're not. Whenever I start a story, I make sure to read it in the printer-friendly format or in the single-page view. If I forget to do so, I often get to the bottom of a "page" and decide that it's really not even worth it for me to spend the .0024 seconds for that page to load and move on to something else.

    I doubt I'm the only one, and it seems to me that a lot of Web folks lose a lot of readers in an effort to get the extra banner ad displayed on the site.
  3. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    For what it's worth, and I don't think I'm talking out of school, I think places are going to be going away from the multiple-page model online more and more. It used to be seen as a way to boost ad views, but it's not so important anymore, I don't think.
  4. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Zebra, as noted just above, sites will be abandoning the multiple-page format more and more, but geez, a single click and wait is too much to go through to read a story? That's what we've come to in the world?
  5. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    The paper I often read online will "jump" as little as three paragraphs in what feels like a shameless stunt to generate clicks.

    I hope advertisers fight back on this with their own stats about how many readers don't bother to look at the second, third and later "pages" of a Web story and how some, in fact, are aggravated by a site that requires it.

    This is like newsprint people who now think that, by sticking a commercial on the front end of a chintzy, staff-produced, Bin Laden-in-a-bunker video is going to generate millions of dollars. No, it simply convinces me to stop clicking on your lousy videos, dipshits.
  6. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    This won't make it annoy you any less, but in my experience, it's not that there's a plan to push three paragraphs to a second page to get another ad view.

    At my place, for example, there's simply a number of paragraphs after which a story automatically splits. So if that point is nine paragraphs and the story is 11, that's what happens. (That's an oversimplification here, because there's a tolerance built in to prevent such things, but that's the general idea.)
  7. ondeadline

    ondeadline Active Member

    If I'm interested in a story and it makes me click on a second page, I always go to the "printer-friendly version" (I hate that term). I guess I just don't want to be mean to the printer. :)

    I assume that it's broken up to allow the display of more ads. But that doesn't work for me since I see no ads with my browser.
  8. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest

    Our site does extensive research and concludes that A LOT of people do click and go to the second and third page.

    So it's not definite.
  9. SoCalDude

    SoCalDude Active Member

    I've heard our "Web experts" instruct writers to make sure the story is long enough to be broken up into four takes. Pisses off the writers.
    Our columnist who picks NFL games provides about a one-sentence explanation per game. Online, the picks were presented in a slide show, two our three photos per game with the captions saying only, "(columnist) picks Colts." So you have to click on 30 to 35 photos to get all of the picks for 12 to 16 games. A five-minute read becomes a 20-minute click-a-thon.
  10. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    It's an interesting shift in thinking, don't you agree? For years it's been "write shorter" and "no jumps." I find it fascinating, and that's why I started the thread.
  11. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Well-Known Member

    Someone sets that as the default point for a jump, though, based on some assumption. Plenty of sites let stories/articles/postings run longer, in their entirety, on one page. It feels manipulative when places don't, since the scroll bar allows a Web page to roll on and on.
  12. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    Not all sites do this. Most newspapers don't.

    If a page "jumps" online, I don't read.

    ESPN does not jump, and I read. SI jumps, and that's the end of that too lazy. I also don't do ads in the middle of the article. BAH!
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