It takes more than design components to produce online editorial content likely to attract habitual use from readers

Medium and Tumblr both offer visually strong statements to readers. The editorial content published on both sites, from a visual perspective, can be said to be a consistent combination of very prominent images and text laid out with special fonts and background color. Ostensibly the presentation should drive engagement. But readers are likely to experience difficulty getting to the content they want as the result of less than ideal curation efforts. In the case of Tumblr, less than ideal curation, in this writer’s opinion, will likely lead to lower revenue.

There is no search box on Medium. Perhaps this is intentional. Tumblr has a search box. Running a query for “tech” brought up an enormous page of en vogue “cards” (if readers aren’t acquainted with “cards” they are the now familiar graphical branding for information on most smart phone displays and tablets with browsers trapped in mobile view only). While the presentations may captivate attention, a running list of semantic abstractions — “futurescope”, “thetechgets”,”prostheticknowledge” — are completely opaque, leaving readers with a simple binary choice: either jump in and search around on a hit or miss, or just pass. This writer opted to simply pass. It’s likely a lot of other readers will take the same course of action, if their reason for landing on Tumblr is to find something specific, rather than just searching around.

Missing a likely subtle nuance about the differences in behavior exhibited between business users after some specific information, and folks wandering around a super store, passing down aisle after aisle simply checking things out, is a real reason why, in this writer’s opinion, online promotion opportunities are just not magnetizing interest from any manufacturers of products requiring a considered purchase decision from prospects. Everything is boiling down to an appeal to folks buying toothpaste (and similar absolutely tangible commodities). This is not good, long term, for the health of the online click ad business.

From the appearance of content as published on Medium, in this writer’s opinion, Evan Williams and Biz Stone (both played a part in the original Twitter effort) wanted to represent a clique on line. Information is certainly not easy to find on the site. This is a shame. There is a lot of very useful content on Medium. It’s just hard to get at it.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved

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