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We run a site which publishes articles, similar to buzzfeed in a lot of ways. The original site had a lot of features and some fairly old templates which needed redeveloping, along with new branding. Part of this was figuring what features were not required anymore and instead introducing functionality which was useful to our vistors. One of those components to be replaced, was the page view count.

For me, this was an obvious change. What publishers out there have a view count on their articles? It seemed to me that the view count isn't actually something vistors needed. Instead we replaced it with social share counts and also a favourite button, which could then later be hooked into a favourite article list for registered users.

The question has been raised several times since, is why did we remove the view count? Based on the conjecture, that it's useful for our visitors.

So should we show it? Is there any examples of this been useful for vistors? Why is it useful?

I'm basically struggling to find an examples of this, or any evidence. Would be great to get your opinions.

Unfortunatly, we never got the chance to do any user testing before going live, or in the design phase. I'm now looking to do user testing in InVision and a basic questionnaires, which will decide the development roadmap going forward. We're going to do this both internally, and with an external group. This will give me a lot of answers to what people need and want. Vistors been my primary focus, not the business!

This question has been answered previously to some extent, but I think I'm asking it in a slightly different way.

Thanks in advance!

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I agree with you: I doubt counters were ever useful in any way to users. What purpose did they serve? Did they bring more readers somehow?

What I'd do in your situation is compare the analytics between now and before you removed the counters. Granted, it sounds like you've made multiple changes, so more visitors can't be directly linked to the removal of the counters. In fact, I doubt that removing them had any impact at all, simply because their presence had no impact.

You say you'll do usability studies, but I can't imagine a plausible scenario where page counters would come into play.

I suppose this answer is little more than shrug, but hopefully your analytics will show some improvement that you can somehow attribute to the removal of the counters. Or use the argument that they're an old feature that makes the site look outdated and amateurish. Godspeed.

  • Analytics would be a hard way of testing, just due to it been very ambiguous. Visitor numbers can vary a massive amount, just based on social engagement and a lot of other factors. It's a good idea though, and maybe something I could fit into A/B testing. We might end up asking the visitor, did you see the view count? Did you decide to read because of it? What does it mean to you? Questions like that, I think will work really well. – Jack Prosser May 29 '16 at 12:07
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I'll answer your sub-questions below and I'll give examples related to your question

Examples:

  1. Do you ever experience that you've get curious on a Facebook video (for example) that has many likes/shares/views and then clicked on it to figure it out why?
  2. Imagine a Youtube video without a views count or a like and dislike result I'm really sure that a user will not know if it's trending or the feed backs of other users (if it's likable or unlikable) and there is a chance that they will not click the play button or figure it out.

Bottom line:


Putting Counts can hook up a user to engage/read (on your situation) on that post/article.

Disclaimer:

Putting Page View Count has a positive and a negative effect but not all the user just a possibility.

Negative - If a user saw a low Page View Count there's a possibility that a user will not read it at all even if you have a very catchy headline.

Positive - Vice versa of Negative


So should we show it?

It depends. For me show it.

Is there any examples of this been useful for vistors?

I don't have a example that shows analysis that it's effective but I gave you related examples that can help you decide.

Why is it useful?

It can help your user and admin to identify if a post/article has a massive or few number of readers or page views (obviously).

  • This is based on YouTube and Facebook videos. Articles are a completely different media form, so I'd rather look at just written articles. Facebook video view counts seems a weak argument. Plus trending view count doesn't always decide if someone will watch it. Would you look at the view count before reading something!? Surely the title is far better indicator? Most of the answers I'm looking for I found here... ux.stackexchange.com/questions/33439/… Now I'm looking for examples, within written media, not video. – Jack Prosser May 29 '16 at 12:03

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