Type Seven

We have argued against monolithic assumptions (call them stereotypes if you will) about people online. In other words, there’s more to life than usability. We are quite happy to sit there and wade through an “unusable” site if it pays off in other ways.

A new report claims to slot Web-surfers into seven zodiacal categories: Quickies, Just the Facts Single Mission, Do It Again, Loitering, Information, Please, and Surfing.

We have but one thing to say: “Labels!”

Anyway, these “Internet marketers” knock the wind out of their own sails by admitting that the walls between these categories are largely fictitious: “Of the seven segments, no single one was dominant. Indeed, people engage in many different activities on the Internet, and therefore don’t limit themselves to just Loitering or Surfing. Sometimes people rush to grab something they need (e.g., addresses, stock prices) and leave; at other times they meander about the Web, stopping at an E-book site to browse through some classics and bestsellers. Fully two-thirds of our sample engaged in five or more session types during the six months.”

How polyamorous. Does this imply that a large, ambitious site should offer different genres of content to satisfy either lifelong members of a certain category or, as is rather more the rule, category-hoppers? Why, yes!

We suppose this sounds a lot like portals, which we hate. As we write this, we are too tired and blitzed to come up with a devastating new content paradigm for our readers to steal. Maybe tomorrow.

Posted on 2001-04-13