The Case Against Listicles

Lists are not the best way to share location-based guides; here's why

Listicles are out, maps are in.

Map of where all cities called Paris are
view map full screenlink

We’ve seen too many articles lately that don’t effectively communicate geographic information, and perhaps the worst offenders of this are listicles. The "top 10 list" is a dried-out format that’s wordy, hard to read, and terribly ineffective for giving information about places. For example, an article titled “Places Named Paris'', could read like this:

  1. Paris
  2. Paris
  3. Paris
  4. Paris
  5. Paris
  6. Paris

Or — with Proxi — it could read like what you see to the right: beautifully and natively integrated into a blo

Mapping on Proxi is by far the easiest way to write about locations. Need more proof?

Here are our top 5 reasons why listicles don’t work for geographic information

  1. Location is intrinsic to plac

    A place isn’t a place without a location. Sounds obvious, but it bears repeating. Any time you’re writing about a place, its location is the key factor that decides virtually everything about that place. Its history, climate, accessibility, etc are all dictated by location.

  2. A numbered list doesn’t show relationships between places

    When writing about locations, they’re bound to be interrelated in some way. A discrete list loses all of this nuance, because locations aren’t just separate items, and they shouldn’t be treated as such. Maybe Breckenridge and Vail are both on my list of top skiing destinations in the US. Without a map, readers won’t realize that the two are mere miles apart, and potentially could even be visited on the same trip.

  3. A numbered list requires too much explanation about the place

    Any place could be described with a lengthy description detailing its proximity to nearby points of interest. But the far easier way to do this is with a map. For instance, a map of hotels in a resort town can instantly convey a variety of factors about each. Maybe hotel A is located on the beach, while hotel B is a few blocks inland. Or maybe hotel A is located in a district with lots of restaurants, while B is more isolated. These things can be quickly and easily understood with a map in a way that writing a list would take multiple paragraphs to describe.

  4. It’s visually unappealing

    Chunks of text on a page are almost universally disinteresting. Even with images included, listicles nowadays feel way too long and ugly.

  5. Readers don’t even read them

    Much of the time, a reader only looks at the first few items. Humans are spatial human beings; a list of places that aren't visualized loses the interest of a reader because they can’t see the locations in relation to themselves or one another. Maybe they read the descriptions, but when confronted with a list most people get bored pretty easily and don’t bother to read much further besides the headline item. A map only requires a quick glance to get the gist.

A map is hands down the better way to showcase information about locations because that’s what maps were designed to do. Whether it's for a blog about bucket list travel destinations, or a restaurant chain advertising new locations, mapping it out is the best way to captivate a wide audience and give important info fast and effectively.