Blogging Interface Inconsistancy

June 6th, 2008 | Foody

Blogs are written in reverse chronological order. This makes sense because the reader typically values currency and is most interested in the newest content. This idiosyncrasy creates a couple problems. Readers are used to texts being written from left to right (which is the easier way to write if you are right handed since it has less of a problem with the hand smudging ink). Our notion of a time line is oriented in the same left is back, right is forward as our writing because stories progress chronologically and are written left to right. (Also we use forward and backward to reference the future and past because we walk forward if crabs could think about chronology they probably would have to use a different analogy.)

Blogs upend this assumption of chronological writing so we find ourselves in a Tower of Babel situation where some blogs use the time line analogy of <- Older Newer-> and other blogs use the book analogy of <-Newer Older-> the difficulty is compounded when blogs using the book analogy use words like “previous, next” and “back, forward” which are unsurprisingly also temporal references. When using a blog I find it more intuitive to use the book analogy, but when explaining it or thinking about it I find it more natural to use the time line analogy. I think the book analogy is probably going to emerge as the dominate paradigm because even though it doesn’t make as much sense we are so used to lifting up a right hand corner a book to flip the page that that behavior is almost hard wired into us.

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