In Craig Mod’s newest piece for The Message on Medium (hehe), he shares his love for The New York Times’s newest app, NYT Now and talks again about the importance of edges and containers in our digital reading environments:
The physical paper used to provide the medium or frame into which the reporting culture of the Times could be embedded, but digitally that framing is lost. Carr’s beautifully described ‘rigor of form’ is what an app like NYT Now forces the Times to do to its otherwise formless 300 daily links.
While you can’t blame information overload as the only (or even main) culprit behind lost traffic on the Times’s homepage, it’s certainly one contributing factor. As we deal with increasing numbers of higher density information streams, one of the most respectful things a media organization can do for their readers is to create a clear hierarchy of information. Even better is to say, Here are the five things we really think you should peek at. You can do this any number of ways — implicitly through design or statistical ranking (e.g., Most Emailed), or more explicitly through human editorial selection. In mimicking a printed layout, the current homepage of the Times tries to apply the physical curatorial qualities of print (bounded and immutable) to a digital frame (boundless and always changing). As the numbers show, given a better or more digitally native entrance to the content, readers will take it.
Craig has written about edges before when Newsweek went digital only and this compliments my piece, Leaky Containers and Blurry Edges from November 2012 really nicely.
Also, if you haven’t been reading The Message, you really should as some of my favorite writers are looking at the state of media and where we can go. I’ve previously linked to Craig’s other piece on Snow Fall, just last week as well as Robin Sloan’s piece on using the television seasonal structure as a framework for storytelling. If you like the sort of things I post here, you’ll love each piece in The Message.