Sunday, February 19, 2006

When something easy becomes something hard...

I don't know exactly what day it happened, or even the month, but at some point in time some evil, sinister thing happened to the Internet. This thing, worse than a virus, is one that has transformed the Internet and its wonderful access to limitless volumes of information into an arcane mess of perpetual indirection, mandatory registration, clunky interfaces, and unwanted content.

Despite the fact that I've made my living at the heart of the so-called information revolution, I have no use for the extraneous fluff that has made complicated what was originally the so simple. Searches on Microsoft's Developer Network for simple debugging or language information renders list upon list of garbage on technology whitepapers, details on future products, and links to broken pages. A simple desire to find the score of a basketball game on ESPN's website leads you through a dizzying array of menus, submenus, javascript errors, overwrought Shockwave presentations, and pictures before you get close to anything resembling anything as simple as a score. Even the sports crawl on ESPN itself can't be happy with just delivering scores; it's compelled to give pointless, inane in-game statistics for each game; pitchers; at-bats, points, rbi's, baskets, pets, hobbies. Most infuriating of all is the trend of some websites (ESPN comes to mind) to push some idiotic canned videos to your browser without even the courtesy of a request for permission.

And, if nothing else, that's a practice that's got to stop.

I'm a pretty simple person. I love the simple and efficient interfaces on www.dictionary.com and www.whitepages.com, where you provide a simple piece of information, and get simple information back. I have no doubt that, one day, even these models of simplicity will eventually be wrapped in "helpful" "value-added" features that will turn them into useless constipations of technology, a vague memory of how things should have been before someone decided they need to be "cooler."

If I were involved in marketing, I'd wonder if anyone even tried to find out what customers want in websites from places like ESPN or their local TV station. I think an entirely separate group of media junkies is selling another group of media junkies that all this extraneous garbage being poured onto every website in the world is something we, the users, actually want, without bothering to ask us.

Am I wrong? Do you like the convoluted interfaces of ESPN or FoxSports? Or do you appreciate the simplicity of websites like www.dictionary.com that allow you to control the agenda? Moreover, do you like ESPN shoving its video content down your browser's throat?

Let me know what you think. I think I already know the answer; but, unlike ESPN and their contemporaries, I'm going to ask you what you think first.

-David

2 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Haha, I think you're a whiney little bitch and if you don't like it then don't go to the page. You act like an ESPN rep came to your house and forced you onto the page. Simply put, if you don't like the way the present their media then find another source.