18 April 2012

Do walled gardens offer a better user experience?

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In an extensive article by Charles Arthur, technology editor of The Guardian, on the rise of walled gardens (apps, social networks) on the net, we read this quote by John Battelle of Federated Media:

“The open web is full of spam, shady operators and blatant falsehoods. Outside of a relatively small percentage of high-quality sites, most of the web is chock full of pop-up ads and other interruptive come-ons.

“It’s nearly impossible to find a signal in that noise, and the web is in danger of being overrun by all that crap. In the curated gardens of places like Apple and Facebook, the weeds are kept to a minimum, and the user experience is just … better.”

The article centres around the dilemma this poses in terms of control and autonomy, well summarised in this example by Media commentator Jeff Jarvis:

“Apple’s iPad is sweet and pretty but shallow and vapid … I see danger in moving from the web to apps,” he said. “The iPad is retrograde. It tries to turn us back into an audience again.”

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