Finally! Chunking may be back!
Chunking, at least in the way I am using the term, is when you hyperlink your subheads so that you can jump around between sections of a story. I am sure for some content producers it never left, but I have missed it on the sites I regularly visit for years now. I always thought it was a great way to allow users to access the topics of a story they were most interested in by clicking from within a sort of table of contents under the headline. I’m not sure why it went away, and would love to know. Perhaps people weren’t using the features? Perhaps content management systems weren’t allowing the function? Maybe it just got pushed aside as more interactive features etc. came into vogue?
At any rate Bill Gates has brought it back with his 2012 annual letter from the Gates Foundation. In the piece about extreme poverty and issues of food, vaccines, AIDS, education
and other causes he pledges support for from the Foundation, he “chunks” or sections each topic with subheads. Within each section, users may tweet or share on Facebook specific parts or link to topics within sections (as opposed to working only with the entire document).
I see this as being a great idea for news organizations’ formatting of longer reads. My audience research revealed that people would love to be able to access specific parts of longer stories and navigate within it. Chunking the story could entice more people to jump into the content because it looks a little less intimidating than a long block of text.
Loving it, Mr. Gates!