Paragraphs like this one don't get read online. People it seems have stopped reading things that might take them away from Twitter or Instagram for more than 7 minutes. Medium posts (intelligently) tell you how many minutes it'll take you to read them and then the user decides on the investment. This is a pretty sad place that we have arrived at. I suggest that images, videos and 140 character quotes are ruling our decisions about wether to jump in and consume.
Most of my day is spent designing around the content. I predominately create things that have little multimedia content. Recently though I've been dealing with some content issues for a corporate client. What you need to create, for where and how many versions are there. And this is just for one website.
This has started me thinking about how I'm structuring my content on this site. I look at the stats of people browsing my pages and they are definitely not reading all the words. They are glancing at the pictures maybe watching a 30 second video clip. So all this typing is wasted effort, lost ideas. So should I be doing it in the first place? Well, it's mostly for me to formulate the ideas, the nuances, solidify the feeling. But I'm now thinking that the way I tell these (process) stories must entirely change. I have been going through the motions and not evolving what I'm doing. Which is bad as changing the process is one of my design principles. So, to remedy that.
I'm going to lay out my theory of how this can be better on this page and then also design this page in a way that can be consumed in under a minute. I think you can get someone for a 20 seconds and longer if your images and video are strong. Clearly advertising metrics know these answers precisely but I don't. Also my content isn't quite the same as advertising content - in how readers might relate to it. So I'll create two views of the same content. One for a 1990 audience and one for a 2014 audience. Hopefully I'll learn something.
I have realized that I too, am not reading online. I'm reading books but not really online content. If's as if the content isn't given proper consideration. And lets face it, the bar is lower. I can push a button and create this content online and it hasn't been extensively edited or reviewed by a group, judged and been deemed worthy of the brand of a publisher. This is the curse of all UGC that's inflicted like a plague upon the masses. But then the mass democratization of tools is clearly a wonderful thing. It's curious that an illustrator might create a drawing in 3 hours, that might secure viewing of 30 seconds, and an advert (for a brand) might be created taking 50 people 8 weeks that also secures 30 seconds of someone's time. The cinema is really the only platform that still has a captive audience. This is all obvious, but still curious.
I'm willing to bet by now that no one that has read this far. I need to design this content for a reader that is at least as lazy as me. Mechanics like images and videos, slideshows, different type styles and animations are required. In essence content has to be all singing and all dancing because we live in an all singing all dancing world. This idea must make a real writer a bit queasy. But I'm publishing this content into a world of singing and dancing content, so surely I must play by those rules just to keep up?