We have endured years of bold and usually unfulfilled claims that come from the tech sector. We’ve been promised that the Web will make our lives easier, but aren’t we seeing the opposite reaction? Our lives are becoming so infused with information that it becomes overwhelming and even stressful just to keep up—an increasing problem called information overload.
The problem: the Web of today is wide, but not deep. Although we have access to enormous amounts of information, the majority of it isn’t meaningful. It lacks depth and value for our lives. For example, according to an October 2008 Nielson report, the average person in the United States looks at 76 web pages per day, spending an average of 55 seconds per page. The short duration suggests short information-gathering tasks, idle browsing, or a more severe problem with the Web: distrust.
Web content expert Gerry McGovern describes it this way:
People are more skeptical about content online than offline. People basically view the Internet as a dumping ground for content. There’s some great stuff, sure. However, it is vastly outweighed by badly written, out-of-date, inaccurate, and sometimes deliberately misleading content.
With the mobile web, however, we see a quite different picture. We still see short, simple tasks that one might expect given the mobility of the user, but with a far higher number of page views per visit, each with longer session times. People don’t just bounce around from site ...