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Internet of cards: Websites take a history lesson
9 February 2015

You know those little paper things you played games with as a kid? Whether snap with your family–or a sneaky blackjack game late at night with your buddies (cigars and all)–they hopefully bring back a lot of warming memories. Well, as Mugatu would say, cards are so hot right now.

 

HISTORY

Cards have been around for a long time. From your simple deck with Kings and Queens–to footy cards with player stats–to obnoxious business cards by businesspeople. They cater for all sorts of purposes, and come in many different styles. The one thing that persists is their simple shape and cleanliness.

Cards

The thing about cards is that they can be understood at a glance. That is, it only takes a few seconds to read the entire card and get the information you need.

 

CARDS ON SCREENS

It turns out that this method is highly effective in a digital context too. With the web being the overly-cluttered place it is, companies are opting to simplify their information using a card-system. This isn’t just another trend either, it’s something that makes complete sense for users (only wanting small bites of information), not uninteresting life-stories.

 

What better way to show this than proof-in-the-pudding from some of the largest websites and services in the world:

 

Facebook, Twitter, Google, and the recent Tinder.

sm-cards

WHY ARE THEY SO EFFECTIVE?

Cards have successfully made their way into some of the biggest sites and social networks because they’re simple.

 

Quick:

Cards make it super-easy for people to skim through a lot of information. It’s 2015, we’re in an age of ever-decreasing attention spans, and ain’t nobody got time for essay-sized posts. People want the ability to rapidly accumulate information in a short period of time.

 

A great example of this method is that of Book Summaries. Want to get the cliff notes and main points of an entire book, but don’t have the time? Just buy the summary and get through it in 30 minutes. Then give yourself a pat on the pack for being a future-focused individual.

 

Distinguishable:

Instead of information being bunched together, cards are all distinguishable. That is, each card is a neat little block of information, with clear separation from one another.

 

This is really helpful for people, because it’s much easier to focus on one burst of information at a time. Rather than, for example, having to search for a specific sentence in a book (we all know how painful that is). Command + F anyone?

 

Extensible:

Cards are limited to the height of the users screen. If the user wants more info, then they can expand the card if they want to–but by default–everything is compact.

 

This again is really useful, because people aren’t forced to painstakingly read information they don’t care about. Instead, they have the choice to if they’re interested enough. It’s almost like card-based interfaces have built-in inbound marketing (info on request, not by force).

 

In conclusion, we believe that card-based interfaces are a solid approach for websites and apps going forward. The main thing to take away from the Internet of Cards movement, is keeping it simple.

 

In our previous post, we gave the analogy of explaining your business to someone that you have never met, with only 30-seconds to do so. This is what cards offer–by force–so take advantage of them all you can and keep up the card work.

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