Pogo sticking in websites

If your user is doing this, you're doing something wrong

Good user experience designers will avoid pogo sticking like the plague. Pogo sticking is when the user is presented with an array of choices, does not have enough information to make a decision or understand a concept so they have to systematically explore options and return to the array of choices until the desired option is found. Click the first option, back to the array. Click the second option, back to the array. It’s a terrible experience, but users experience it all the time. Sites that have been particularly vulnerable to this are banks and e-commerce sites. Joshua Porter wrote an article on UIE celebrating The GAP redesigning their e-commerce experience to combat pogo sticking behavior.

Spinning plates user experience

If your reader is doing this, you're doing something wrong

But I have a feeling that pogo sticking is taking on a new, equally displeasing form in content creation and consumption. I call this monster plate spinning. I find often that when I’m reading a blog post I have to balance several different blog posts simultaneously because the content constantly references links to other pages and sites that contain prerequisite knowledge. My reading experience is completely interrupted and my comprehension is far inferior, yet I can’t help but open up the links in several tabs. I’m too curious about the information I’m missing. One of the following things needs to happen for my reading experience to improve:

  1. Websites should adopt footnotes, much like what I’m used to in a research paper. This has been written about on several occasions by usability experts.
  2. Content creators should appropriately summarize the content of a crucial outbound link so that I can choose whether or not I need to open it.
  3. Content creators should rapidly adopt a currently nonexistent tool that would allow them to easily show a preview of outbound link content that specifically focused on the information necessary to understand the remainder of the content in focus. Existing outbound link preview plug-ins are horrendous and peppered with distracting advertisements.

Am I alone here? Please post any comments, ideas, reference links or tools.