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I have a list of articles and on the front end I want to display the title, content and then a read more link. The content can be long, so I want to show only the first portion of content in the list, and then I'll use the read more link to show the full article on another page.

Administrators can create/update the articles from the admin panel using a WYSIWYG editor.

What is the best way from a UX point of view, to extract/differentiate the first part of the article?

I came up with:

  • Have two inputs on the admin panel, first for the intro text, second for the whole text. Then on the frontend I use the intro text in the list of articles. With this I either join the two inputs for the full article, or ask the user to copy and paste the intro into the second input (giving them more flexibility but more to do).
  • Keep the user out of it and pull out the first 100 words to be used as the intro text.
  • In the WYSIWYG editor have some sort of toolbar button to insert a rule which separates the intro and main text. This is the way the Joomla! CMS does it.
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1 Answer 1

From the administrator's point of view, it is useful to have the ability to control the content of the intro text rather than just truncating the full version. This is usually best achieved with two separate fields. I would however suggest that you make the intro field optional and fall back to using the first (e.g.) 100 words of the full article, so that they can still be lazy and ignore it if they wish.

One very subtle benefit of showing the first X number of words (as opposed to a properly written introduction) is that it acts as an additional clue that what's being displayed is just an intro and that the user should click through to continue reading. If you have an explicit "Read more" link, that should be clear enough in its own right.

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Thanks, what do you think about either joining the two fields to create the full article, or ask the user to duplicate the intro into the main article text field, or even ignoring the intro text when showing a full article? –  ServerBloke Nov 20 '12 at 12:06
    
I've done this both ways in the past - it really does depend on context. In most cases, I'd expect the intro to appear only in the listing. If not, make sure it's very clear to the author where it'll appear. –  Matt Obee Nov 20 '12 at 12:28
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I would second having two inputs. This makes it very clear for editors what each field will be used for, and it also gives you future flexibility if for some reason you decide to re-appropriate the teaser field for another purpose (maybe a new category page UI). I have found that when you start making single fields pull double duty, your implementation becomes more fragile and is more likely to produce a "we can't do that" type answer when the product owner comes along wanting to make changes. –  Charles Wesley Nov 20 '12 at 19:40
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