(2003-04-28) Wiki Ugly

Liz Lawley thinks Wiki sites are ugly. I'm not a shallow person. Really. (Well, maybe a little shallow. But that's not the point.) I do, however, respond better to web pages that are well designed and pleasant to look at. And wiki pages aren't. I'm actually not a huge fan of the look of most WebLog sites. One thing I find annoying is to see a format so focused on its text-content still tending to push specific fonts/sizes on readers (I'm going to need a key-shortcut to bump the text zooming in Mozilla). Liz also has a thing for pictures. I think the Smashed Together Words thing (and question-mark for potential new pages) is probably the biggest turn-off to normal humans. Which is why I hope to change that on this site soon. (and of course there's the techiness of most RecentChanges pages...)

Joi Ito picks up the thread. Lots of the comments relate to the Web Outliner in a wiki context - Wiki And Outlining. Which also nudged me to finally write up some ideas on Spreading Wikiweblog.

  • see comment by Mark Federman on a Marshall McLuhan perspective. Wikis are very cool. They are, by nature, highly participatory, with each user filling in much information. The more hyperlinked they are, the cooler they become, since the detail of the information for filling in is elsewhere, but one can get a sense of the information behind the hyperlink based on the linked word or phrase (and you fill in the rest based on your sense)... Blogs are a little hotter than wikis, but cooler than many other of these Online Media that we are considering... Threaded discussions are hotter still, since they are overtly organized hierarchically and linearly, as opposed to being overtly "networked" via hyperlinks going out every-which-way.

Don Park too (though he's less focused on superficial ugliness)...


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