You May Be A Socialite With A Long String Of Pearls, But You’re Gonna Have To Serve Somebody

Valleywag is pointing to a 2006 article by Adrian Holovaty that addresses the design limitations newspapers are facing online.
Holovaty argues for a data structure that is more user-centric.

…say a newspaper has written a story about a local fire. Being able to read that story on a cell phone is fine and dandy. Hooray, technology! But what I really want to be able to do is explore the raw facts of that story, one by one, with layers of attribution, and an infrastructure for comparing the details of the fire — date, time, place, victims, fire station number, distance from fire department, names and years experience of firemen on the scene, time it took for firemen to arrive — with the details of previous fires. And subsequent fires, whenever they happen.
That’s what I mean by structured data: information with attributes that are consistent across a domain. Every fire has those attributes, just as every reported crime has many attributes, just as every college basketball game has many attributes.

He goes on to say he doesn’t want to see newspapers abolish stories, he wants to see the structured data and stories coexist in peaceful harmony. My interest in bringing this to your attention is this: large corporate sites, brand sites and overarching digital strategies also need to be designed with intent. If your firm employs user interface designers, you’re probably in good shape. If no, you might want to hire some.
Content can’t be king, if it’s not simple and elegant for “the people” to find exactly what they want, use it exactly how they want, when and wherever they want.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.