Eric Meyer on RSS feeds and poor navigation/organization of weblogs:
Reading a weblog is like watching Memento, which I agree was a cool movie, except all weblogs are like that so it’s as if every single movie released in the past seven or eight years was structured exactly like Memento. If conference presentations about weblogs were true to the form, the speaker would start with the conclusion, work backwards through his points, and end with the opening statement. (I’d love to see someone actually do that.) If weblog entries were ordered like the weblogs themselves, this would be the next-to-last paragraph, and the one above would be below it instead.
“But Eric,” you cry, “we want to see the most recent information first! Newer is better!” Wrong. What’s most important is catching up with the content you haven’t seen before. If weblogs could run off of telepathy, the site would determine the most recent post you’d actually read, and then present you with all of the posts since that one, listing them in chronological order. (It might also show you the most recent post you’d already seen for a sense of continuity, but that would be the very first post you saw. You could skim through it quickly and get to the new stuff.)
It’s frequently the case that I’ll drop by a weblog and the most recent post will refer back to a two-days-ago post, or maybe to three posts scattered over the previous week. In some cases, the most recent post makes no sense without having read the older stuff. So I have to skip to the older material, read it all (making sure I get it in correct order), and then come back to the newest post. For me, that means opening up the older posts in separate tabs. Others might open new windows, or just skip around. Another alternative is to find the least recent post that I’ve read and start reading from there. And that’s when things get really annoying, because it means scrolling downward to read the post, then scrolling up past what I just read and the entire body of the next post, then scrolling slowly down as I read the newer post. Lather, rinse, repeat, regret.
I’ve written about this chronological issue before, but lordy, I can’t find it! Actually, at some point in the next few months I’ll be giving a total overhaul to this blog and my content in general that will hopefully solve both problems…and even look pleasing to the eye. Take it from me: I’ve written some extremely cool stuff in–what date was it? November 2003? July 2002? Someday I’ll cull out the good stuff.
When I upgrade….