I just want to read

There seems to be this assumption with web sites nowadays that it has to be “rich media”. Animations galore, sound playing, videos autostarting (really?). And I’m having a sort of backlash reaction to all of that.

This belief that everyone wants to watch a video, interview, program, screencast and much more, coming from seemingly nowhere. No. No no no. Yes, at times, but to me at least, the vast majority of the time I just want to read. I want to be able to skim through an article, focus on what I care about and be able to take in the content no matter the medium I’m on. And maybe use the search functionality in my web browser to find what I’m looking for and be more efficient.

It’s even worse on mobile, though, when the first screen for news outlets and the likes is almost always entirely an animated ad, sometimes with sound or video, or offering you to watch a clip with the latest news. First-screen experience doesn’t seem to matter that much, data usage and slow connection have become second to creating something “lively”.

At least half the time when I try to read the news, articles and blog posts, I’m commuting or am in a context where sound is not an option. I don’t want to bring headphones with me all around just to be able to get some basic information or updates.

And sure, I understand and respect that some web sites need to display ads as their main income, and that’s something different (although I believe most people have also learned to tune them out – I mean, the number of ad clicks must be staggeringly low). But what I’m talking about here is more for the regular content, the convinction that everyone wants video. Just because we generally have faster connections now, then we should fill them with crap that use them all up.

Don’t do it just because you can. Sometimes I – and I bet a lot of other people – just want to read.

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