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by adam mathes
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When The River Floods

One of the nice things about the ascendance of the iPad is that people are experimenting with ways to present collections of content beyond the overused “transplanted newspaper layout” and the reverse chronological “river” that has come to be the defining organizational and presentational mode for the web over the last few years.

Many of these experiments are dead ends, but they’re dead ends in the experimental way that early web sites and Macromedia Shockwave presentations shoved onto CD’s were – this is the way we develop new modalities.

This is how we get to the future.

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Though subtle, I believe the biggest innovation in rivers has been the transition from “what’s new pages” that listed and pointed to new content on a site to “wee’-blogs” where the entries themselves were the new content in reverse chronological order.

The river is the thing itself, not a mere reflection.

Twitter got this from the start and it’s the source of its coherence – Facebook’s take on it has always made their site infinitely more complex.

There is room for innovation as we think more seriously about moving from short item/pages as the fundamental entity to new river/collection oriented interfaces for web content.

(Flipboard and the like are just the beginning of this, not the conclusion.)

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