Definition by Oxford English Dictionary.
In the world of consumer internet, curation is no longer just a trend. It has become intrinsic to digital products and their core strategy. Curation is the product.
This shift is no surprise considering the growth of the World Wide Web in the last decade. In 2004, there were about 51M websites, and currently more than 915M.
This number is expected to reach 1 billion some time later this year. The same trajectory can be observed for other digital assets such as SKUs in online stores, online services, images, videos, ideas, etc.
The web is now this vast ocean in which users are barely able to stay afloat. Curation comes to the rescue. The “curators” are generally expert(s) in a particular field: design, fashion, photography, food, software, etc. They simply collect things according to their personal preference or a preset standard.
There are 3 reasons why curation works:
1. The web is overwhelming. Curation is manageable.
2. Curation carries care and intention, and users can sense that. Jony Ive once said “Users can sense carelessness” — this is very much the case here.
3. For the company, curation means clear positioning, which is increasingly crucial in today’s competitive landscape.
The growth of the web is not waning any time soon. With that, curation will be more important than ever to provide users with a less-overwhelming, refined, and quality user experience. Consumer internet companies should think about how curation could amplify their value offering.
Here are some cases in which curation has been executed well:
1. Product Hunt
A list of digital products curated by a community of tech experts. Product Hunt has made its way into my morning routine. Be careful: it can be insanely addictive.
A simple app that showcases the best design products on Amazon. Simply a delight to scroll through.
Food delivery from quality restaurants at affordable prices. Deliveroo is like Just Eat, but curated by discerning foodies. A delicious meal is guaranteed.
Weird & “quirky” gadgets hand-selected by cool geeks.
A hotel search app that only lists the top 10 results based on a certain criteria (budget, luxury, business, boutique, trending). No more going through lengthy pages of search results.
Circa News highlights the most important stories in each category. It even provides short briefs for a quick morning read. Time-saver!