A little while ago I wrote about the importance of content platforms:
“Content platforms” are emerging that are designed to solve precisely this problem. A content platform is a standardized means of presenting information. Take, for instance, Yelp. If you want restaurant information, it gives you a list of possibilities with a ranking that can be sorted on distance or user reviews. But if you want to delve deeper, you know what you will find: the same layout for every restaurant, showing you were it is, some pictures, contact details, and a review. There’s a lot of content but it has been arranged in a standardized, easy-to-use format. That makes it easy to understand what you are getting.
Content platforms are a solution to information overload. In particular, a content platform restricts content to a specific format. That may make it harder to add content to (but not necessarily) but it makes it much easier to digest content.
This is important for instructions to do things. For instance, if you searched for ‘how to make a oreo nutella bites’ on Google you would have been directed to a site like this. Now there is nothing wrong with that. The issue is that it is unfamiliar and you have be very careful in reading it to follow the instructions.
Enter Snapguide. It provides a standardised way of writing ‘how to’ guides and as a result establishes a content platform. For the oreo bites, this is what you get. The platform forces the author to consider the steps and then presents it with clear pictures and instructions. And this happens for all manner of stuff. So when I turn my attention to making a waterfall braid (as I am wont to do), it is easy to follow as it is present like the recipe. It shouldn’t be a surprise that no Snapguide contributions are showing up high in Google search results.
What is more, Snapguide allows users to rate instructions and so that assists in searching for the best ones. There is even an iPhone app so that you can both have instructions on the go but also author them with a device that already has a camera built in.
Platforms like Snapguide are the new solution to the problem of information overload. What is more, as platforms, they will likely exhibit strong network effects. It will be interesting to see what comes of this.