A few weeks ago I wrote an article on the prevalence of lists in current internet news media. News, (popular culture aside), it seems, has begun to appear more accessible to readers in this particular format. Why is that?
I conducted a brief study, emailing folks a link to two articles discussing marriage in the 21st century. One article was presented in list-form. The other was not. I asked them to tell me which article they’d rather read. The result? 70% of people preferred the article in list-form. When asked why they preferred this respective article, answers varied. Some folks said the article was more efficiently organized. Some said they found it more compelling. Others said, straight out, that they like lists.
The remaining 30%, when asked why they chose their article in paragraph form, had responses that didn’t take the format into account. Some folks said that they trusted that particular news source, and not the other. Some cited the article’s date – more recent – as their motivation. When I asked these folks if they noticed a difference in the layout of each article, the resounding response was ‘no’. Not at first blush, that is.
After my little experiment was finished, I showed this 30% of readers the articles one more time. I asked, again, if they noticed any particular difference in each respective article’s format. They did, to say the least. So. I asked, one more time: “Which article would you prefer to read?” The answer? Their responses didn’t waver. They either wanted the most recent news, or they were set in their commitment to their trusted news source.
So what does this tell us? The way in which we perceive news is evolving, for better or worse. 70% of readers, as these results imply, want their news in an expedited fashion (I’ll holster any ADHD analyses here), while the remaining 30% seem oblivious, at least initially, to this growing trend. It shouldn’t be long before they catch on.