Imagine life 2,000ish years ago: a long-haired hippie named Jesus was preaching peace in the Middle East, Africa was mostly undiscovered and coffee didn’t exist yet (gawd, how did people live?!). One of the earliest encyclopedias to make it to modern times can also be traced back to that time, around 77 AD, when Pliny the Elder compiled and published his work of over 20,000 facts from 2,000 works by over 200 authors.
While society has evolved and changed and improved (Starbucks, anyone?), encyclopedias have remained much the same. This is puzzling, as knowledge is one of the most popular topics on the internet. In October 2016, Wikipedia received 5B monthly visits, and the largest online publications got around 10% of that traffic (BBC 568M, CNN 528M, ESPN 470M). IMDb has 670M monthly visits, which is more than all the traffic of all the entertainment publications combined.
And although Wikipedia made a huge impact with its debut in 2001, its interface and delivery of knowledge has evolved minimally. (Which is kind of crazy, considering 65% of digital media time is spent on mobile and the traits of Millenials-hyper connectivity, content consumption, creation and curation- have now been adopted by users of all ages.)
The knowledge industry needs a facelift, and quick. Technology is changing rapidly, and users habits have adjusted to accommodate the devices they use to consume information. Additionally, attention spans have gotten shorter and users expect a little pizzazz with their text-interactivity, visualization, pretty interfaces.
Let’s wrap this up since you’re probably already focused on something else (yes, people with short attention spans, we’re talking to you).
The knowledge industry can become so much more relevant- meeting users where they’re at, creating an environment where information is dynamic, allowing users to interact with the data they are seeking. Challenge accepted 🙂