It dropped on Oct. 7, 2010, and links have been circulating via social media. A few short items on newsy tech blogs, over 10,000 Stumbles and a lot of tweets. The top of the page does indicate over 2,000 “Likes” on Facebook.
All in all, When it Drops doesn’t appear to be getting a whole lot of attention. After a short article on Lifehacker, it appears to have flown below radar in most of the tech news world and blogosphere until Oct. 10, when it appeared on The Awesomer.
Searching for “When it Drops” on Google garners only a few relevant results — by the second page the hits are down to links whose relevance iss only that they contained the same three words in that order. An email to co-creator Nick Chapman (@nchapman) has not received any response.
The site strikes first with its simplicity. When it Drops offers four weeks’ worth of releases, from last week through two weeks from now. Each of the five categories (films, music, DVDs, video games and books) initially displays 4 simple items (8 for music), and clicking on the “See more…” link expands the category to show 16 entries (20 in the Music category). Hovering over items yields more information, links to experience or purchase the content, and sometimes ratings from Rotten Tomatoes, All Music and the like.
Aesthetic considerations aside, this ultra-minimalist design has logic for the information age. In a time when “information overload” is threatened at all turns the trimmed-down crop of choices and foolproof user experience help keep seekers narrowly focused.
The downside of a limited scope is the high risk that you’re sacrificing completeness. A comparison to sites with similar “upcoming release” features indicates that When it Drops is missing out — when the entire 4×4 or 4×5 grid isn’t filled, it appears to be missing some releases. The Movies category seems to suffer the most, and as the ‘flagship’ category, topping the page, it disappoints a little. That’s not to say the assortment is without value, though — it still appears to provide a useful collection each week.
It’s unclear yet if the selection will remain this limited — was the scope planned or is it a result of the site’s youth? If the offerings are intentionally limited, how are those that make the cut chosen? Submission or gathering methods are not explained in any obvious location.
The limited spreading of the word is surprising for what is, overall, such a clean release and well-aimed product. When it Drops wants for a bit of logistical polish but delivers a super-streamlined experience, and with time could become a popular place to find the short answer to dreaded question, “What now?”