Based in New YOrk City, breaking the page is a blog by Pete Meyers. Posts cover content strategy and the art of modern message making.

The Grok Switch

How do we service the needs of “in a hurry” readers?

Twitter is one option, but it lacks depth. Blurbs, pull quotes, and other content merchandising snippets are helpful for browsers and skimmers. But what about someone who knows they want to read an article? Who knows they want its essential juice, but doesn’t have time for the full-on squeeze. Someone, in other words, who wants an executive summary of key points. 

BCG’s redesigned thought leadership site shows one solution. (Disclosure: I was the lead content strategist on this project, working in tandem with design agency CSA, developer Rubenstein Technology Group, and an internal editorial team at BCG.)

A “show summaries” button on select themed landing pages switches the presentation from what might be called standard browsing mode to: “gimme the goods.” Take a look:


The first, default version is for readers who are browsing — the layout and design helps them decide what to read. Those who tap the “summaries” button get a quick hit of the article’s key points. Not simply more of what awaits for those who read on, but three or so of the most important takeaways. 

The internal, working name for this design element was “the grok switch.” Huh? To grok, in geek lingo, is to understand the essence of a concept. In my book Breaking the Page, I write about the concept in detail, along with adjacent content presentation states: “skim” and “master.”

Others are experimenting and innovating on this front, developing new ways to offer up different versions of the same content. The New York Times, for example, uses bullet lists below the headlines of many articles to spotlight important points. 



However you design it, whatever you call it, we’re all working on the same thing: more efficient design mechanisms for information transfer.

What are some of your favorite examples? 



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