Overload

Best line ever from Seth Godin:

Once you overload the user, you train them not to pay attention.

It reminds me of an interesting observation I made one day watching people watch the news.

After rain one morning, the precipitation had moved well beyond the area by noon.  While waiting for a flat tire to be repaired I watch three people watch the midday news in the waiting room.  When the weather segment came on they watched the quick cross-talk.  They watched the current conditions.  They watched the radar.

The moment the forecast maps came on, you know, the part where we show the H’s and L’s and spin people around the maps a bit…all three people put their heads down and turned away from the television.

I wonder if they were overloaded…and wonder if we trained them that way.

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About Kevin Selle

Chief Meteorologist, KFDX-TV. Co-host, WeatherBrains.
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2 Responses to Overload

  1. Nate Johnson says:

    That’s an interesting question, but I’m not sure I want to jump straight to that conclusion. Were they just wanting a quick forecast or current conditions? How were the map graphics designed, and was what the meteorologist saying consistent?

    I don’t buy into the idea that weather maps, well done, overload people. I have seen them badly done, however, and that can be as big of a problem as anything. I am tempted to argue this instance was either situational or a presentation/graphic design issue moreso than an issue of overload due to meteorological content.

  2. Kevin Selle says:

    In this case, and this is a subjective opinion based only on my observation, the viewers actions we driven by lack of interest in that portion. The maps were well crafted and the meteorologist competent.

    I stretched a little bit with the word “overload” to make a point, but only a bit.

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