Here’s a great idea to annoy your online readers while generating ad impressions. Take a random idea, come up with about 10 examples, find random stock images to illustrate the examples, and put one idea on each page, to force readers to click through each one.
Boston.com has a collection posted under the title “Business Galleries.” The advice in one, “Saving for College,” is interesting, but the random stock photos of people using laptop computers added exactly nothing to the value of the article, and splitting it across multiple pages is just insulting. I feel exactly the same way when the TV news uses two 15-second “teases” (“Coming up after the break: Are America’s children learning enough about what celebrities wear to their parole hearings?”) for a 60-second story. TV is about making an emotional impact, and when the news is trivial, you can get more bang for your buck by making the same shocking point three times, rather than putting all that time together to explore the issue in more depth.
Someone must feel that sprinkling tiny nuggets of content across multiple pages is worthwhile, though I’m always angry at the designer for making a deliberate choice that forces me to click, click, click. I have ad-blocking software installed, so I never even see the ads anyway.
I can understand putting one photo per page if the photos are compelling enough to keep the reader clicking through the whole narrative, but come on. I’d rather see a random Flickr image than a generic stock photo.