Don't make us "Read the rest." End the third click: kill the "fold"

Continuing the discussion from Bbs = BS; Quality of discussion plummets:

Hi, I’m just a reader, and not a frequent commenter, but I have an annoyance with the current BB design.

When I scroll down the front page of BoingBoing currently, before the auto-load, there are 8 links titled “Read the rest.” In traditional blog forms, in analogy with printed news, this is known as the “fold,” the separation between the introduction to the topic and extended commentary. The idea is that a reader can scroll through your site, get an idea of the subjects currently available, and click through to read more in-depth, just as a newspaper reader can glance at the front headlines, and open up to any articles of particular interest.

This is all fine on traditional blogs; you click the fold to take you to a permalink page that has the rest of the blog article, including the comments. If the blog post is discussing one particular external link in detail, a reader may need two clicks to take in the full discussion: one click to the external article, and one click to the remainder of the post and discussion.

On BB these days, however, three clicks are necessary: one for the external link, one for the discussion, and one for “Read the rest.” The section below the fold, now separated from the comments, has become this weird little space detached from everything else. So what are BB authors using it for? Well, in eight out of eight of those “Read the rest” sections on the front page, it is either, redundantly, a quote from the external link; or, even more redundantly, a relink to the external article.

Just that. The comments aren’t there any more to give it a reason to exist.

“Read the rest”, in bold, is the most obvious link on any BoingBoing post. I have to keep clicking the fold because I don’t want to miss an in-depth article if there happens to be one there. I just keep getting punished for it.

Please, BoingBoing authors, if comments are to remain off the permalink, reserve the fold for real, in-depth articles. A stinger below the fold may work for traditional blogs, but it isn’t working here any more.

Read the rest…

None of the examples mentioned in the comment that spurred this post have this “3-click” problem. Metafilter is a traditional 2-click blog. Reddit has two forms of posts: external links with separate discussion take 2 clicks. “Self” posts are long posts with comments on the same page. That’s typically 1 click, or 2 if (unusually) the self post is about an external link. Hacker News is similar. Twitter’s posts are all short enough to be read in an instant: you can click once to follow an external link, and a second time to read the comment in context.

Yeah, the BB redesign has been throwing me off too- and it’s not like I’m one of those people who despise any change whatsoever. 98% of the time I’m like, “Cool!”

I was happy to see something fresh, but the current UI transition is just cold and clunky. I wish I could be more substantive in my critique, but as with so many design-oriented things, a lot of it is just looking at it sideways and thinking, “This isn’t right.”

Good points here. More changes are coming that will result in more appropriate navigation. Short posts don’t really need permalinks exposed at all (excerpt for people who really want to go to them) and “read the rest” should instead link directly to discussion.

For a “read the rest” to be worth saying, there has to be a “rest” worth reading.