The Return of Cards?

Posting to NGC4LIB

With the rise of mobile computing and the smaller screen sizes, even including tiny screens such as Google Glass, the current direction in information design is to present the information as a card. Here is an article about it, where they discuss several advantages of cards, “Why cards are the future of the Web” The author writes:
“This [i.e. the multiple shapes and sizes of screens] is driving the web away from many pages of content linked together, towards individual pieces of content aggregated together into one experience” and the author shows how Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Spotify and other sites are moving to card displays.

You are also invited to “Think about cards in the physical world. They can be turned over to reveal more, folded for a summary and expanded for more details, stacked to save space, sorted, grouped, and spread out to survey more than one.” The conclusion: “I think there is no getting away from it. Cards are the next big thing in design and the creative arts. To me that’s incredibly exciting.”

These new discussions are about displays and about how much a screen can or cannot handle. I have wondered whether people actually read any of those insanely long pages in Amazon, where we learn that Melville’s “Moby Dick” is a great book (!), that it has gotten 4.1 out of 5 stars and there is the option of reading 921 customer reviews, which may dwarf Melville’s monstrous text.

The new type of card can vary in size, and in fact, should be seen more as a “canvas” than an actual card, but it seems to me that it is more of a philosophical change because such a display can only limit what is made available to the reader. As a result, the world wide web was built to make more information available, but it is clear that the examples of the cards show, their purpose is to limit what is available.

Yet I can imagine a librarian/cataloger just groaning at the thought of reintroducing cards because it dredges up a very sad past.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.