A new Humanized History plugin for WordPress 2.x is now available for download.
The plugin was inspired by the points that Aza Raskin made at Humanized 2006-04-25: No More Pages?
Of course, this page-chunking phenomenon isn’t limited to search sites. It’s used everywhere from blogs to forums, from e-commerce sites to e-mail programs. And it’s surprising how often one finds oneself just giving up and going somewhere else when one has reached the end of a page.
The problem is that every time a user is required to click to the next page, they are pulled from the world of content to the world of navigation: they are no longer thinking about what they are reading, but about about how to get more to read. Because it breaks their train of thought and forces them to stop reading, it gives them the opportunity to leave the site. And a lot of the time, they do.
The take away? Don’t force the user to ask for more content: just give it to them.
I implemented a version of this trick on a couple of other websites that I run (1, 2) using a bit of ugly spit-and-bailing-wire kludgery in the WordPress templates before I bothered to sit down and package it up as a plugin. But I think it’s a neat feature, and I’ve gotten a couple of requests for help in implementing it on other WordPress weblogs. Hopefully this release should make that easier to do.
The plugin has a couple of weak or kludgy aspects, which are probably inevitable due to certain limitations of WordPress. Be sure that you read the installation instructions and the section on templates and styling carefully. To make good use of this plugin you will, unfortunately, probably need at least a passing familiarity with editing WordPress templates.
Let me know what you think — and whether you notice anything weird or broken. Enjoy, and scroll on!