A new movie by Brian De Palma: “A new film about the real-life rape and killing of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers who also murdered her family stunned the Venice festival, with shocking images that left some viewers in tears. Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi was gang raped, killed and burnt by American soldiers in Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad, in March 2006.”

IA for beginners: long pages work.

Long pages work. Just look at Wikipedia. In the 90s, we had a fashion where websites would cut up an article into 6 pages, 2 paragraphs per page, to get more page impressions. Luckily these days advertising runs on Pay Per Click more than Pay Per View (thanks Google!), so that practice is going away. But still, people seem to have a tendency to cut up good content, and often, they shouldn’t.

Look at this page for example. Over 100 comments, and what’s wrong with showing them all on one page? Sure, the page text is 116 KB, but that’s not too bad. And it’s compressed, so it’s really just 21 KB, which is fine and fast even for a dialup.

What it does is that it lets people scan over the conversation, scrolling, and get to the end and contribute their comment. If I were to cut those long comment strings in pieces, the experience would be worse.

Scrolling works. Long pages work. Anything else tends to be informationarchitecturitis (which I define as “the practice of adding too much structure when it’s not needed and even gets in the way”).

Craigslist’s mistake

Craigslist rocks (and for reasons similar to why eBay rocks), but their internationalization approach has a serious flaw, which I think is responsible for their limited success in many international markets: they don’t localize their taxonomies. I’m not gonna write a long post, but here’s a quick analysis I did of their Dubai site:

craigslist-dubai-emptyandac.png

As you can see, many categories just sit there empty (the red dots), and only a few categories are active (the green ones). For the original Sanfran Craigslist, the screenshot would be full of green dots.

The result of this approach is that the site feels empty and inactive. The solution would be to remove most categories and build local specific categories. For example, “woman seeking woman” isn’t particularly appropriate in Dubai society. Construction is booming on the other hand (foreigners cannot own property in Dubai itself, but clever businessmen as they are they have started building multiple artificial islands in the sea where property *can* be owned by foreigners), so one of the few active categories is “real estate for sale”, and there could easily be more real estate categories (like “offshore real estate”), specific to Dubai.