I’ve been noticing a weird trend across news sites recently. I start reading an article and after a paragraph or two the text fades away and I have a button asking me to “Read Full Story” or something like that. I click it and the button disappears and is replaced by the rest of the story. Here are some examples from Time, TechCrunch and The New York Times.
Why are sites doing this?
At first my thought was that it was for analytics, like a person who clicks that link is more engaged than someone just skimming headlines, there are less intrusive ways of doing this, for instance they can just record how far they scrolled down the page.
But then I thought, maybe it was for performance reasons? I do most of my news reading on my phone, and people are concerned with mobile performance. I fired up my laptop and navigated to the same articles. No buttons!
This seems really silly. I prefer the way the BBC does it. All the text content is there, but until I scroll to a part of the page, the images are just placeholders, replaced as I get to them.
I hope this trend stops soon, it’s really irritating to have to click through every time I want to read an article.