I'm building a website and I am looking for a generic word describing the visited state of a piece of content. It can be audio or video content among other things. Is checked a correct way of describing this?

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    How about accessed? – NVZ Sep 13 '16 at 9:18
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    If it's on a website, it's visited alright. You visit URLs. You do not hear, see, or check them. – RegDwigнt Sep 13 '16 at 9:21
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    The thing is that a piece of content is not necessarily mapped to a url. – Elie Gnrd Sep 13 '16 at 9:24
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    They're said to be 'viewed'. – BiscuitBoy Sep 13 '16 at 10:45
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    @RegDwigнt A URL is a Uniform Resource Locator, it allows you to locate some resource. When you deference a URL, you get a representation of a particular resource. That representation might be a audio file, a text file, or anything else, really. The resource is what you're concerned with, and what's been accessed; the URL is just an address of that thing. – Joshua Taylor Sep 13 '16 at 15:35

10 Answers 10

up vote 31 down vote accepted

Mark it as accessed. Date last accessed is a very common phrase in computing.

AccessM-W

verb To open or load (a computer file, an Internet site, etc.)
"accessed the computer by phone"

AccessMacmillan

verb 1. To get information, especially from a computer
"The database allows you to access the sales figures in a number of ways."

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    Although this is technically correct, accessed sounds too formal for the general masses and could come off as too Big Brother'ish for people's taste. – MonkeyZeus Sep 13 '16 at 20:50
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    @MonkeyZeus Access here is a term of art and is used almost universally in data processing. Open up the Properties on a file on any major OS. – chrylis Sep 14 '16 at 3:50
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    @chrylis That more or less proves the point. When is the last time you heard someone say "I accessed this great song on Spotify" or "Have you accessed the news today?" It is technically correct in each case, but it is also sterile and uninteresting. – zugzwang Sep 14 '16 at 5:06
  • @chrylis you don't say... Thank you for further validating my first comment. At what point did OP mention that this is targeted for a data processing audience. The last time I opened up the file properties to check anything in front of a normal user they asked me if I am a real-life wizard so I had to neuralyzer/flashy thing them back to a simpler time. – MonkeyZeus Sep 14 '16 at 5:36
  • @zugzwang I don't think people generally use hypernyms like that, because in each case they're talking about a specific situation. You'd say "I heard" or "I listened to" a song on Spotify because you know it's a song. If you said "I accessed a piece of multimedia content" people will think you're crazy because you don't actually know what you did. – immibis Sep 14 '16 at 22:58

For hyperlinks, the right word would be visited.

However, if you have a catalog of music/video/products, you could have a "Previously viewed" (last viewed, last visited, previously visited) section like amazon.com does.

You may mark it as experienced.

The user (already) experienced this content.

Websters:

Experience v. t.

1. To make practical acquaintance with; to try personally; to prove by use or trial; to have trial of; to have the lot or fortune of; to have befall one; to be affected by; to feel; as, to experience pain or pleasure; to experience poverty; to experience a change of views.

A usage example from BBC:

In addition, the study measured the second-by-second facial movements of people as they experienced the content to measure true engagement and the ...

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    In practice, it is odd for me to hear I've experienced a video or an audio clip. I use the word with things I've actively done. I've experienced clicking on the link, but I've watched, accessed, viewed, or heard the content. – Karen Sep 13 '16 at 15:16
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    The OP wanted a common word for all the words you mentioned. Accessed is also applicable when the user simply downloads the content; one can't watch or view audio content, and heard sounds odd for video content. – alwayslearning Sep 13 '16 at 15:49
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    Are You Experienced ;) If the OP wanted a "generic word describing the visited state of a piece of content" than that should have been the title... – Mazura Sep 14 '16 at 4:02

This activity is usually referred to as content consumption or media consumption by content/media producers.

Media consumption or media diet is the sum of information and entertainment media taken in by an individual or group. It includes activities such as interacting with new media, reading books and magazines, watching television and film, and listening to radio.

If your audience for this copy are media producers consume would be my word of choice.

Individuals don't typically use an umbrella term for these activities as they are typically siloed. I read books on my Kindle, audio on my streaming app (Deezer) and I watch videos on YouTube. However, In Trinidad and Tobago dialect we use the phrase take in (where in is pronounced as een) as a synonym for this use of consume. So, one may say "Let me take in some music" or "I went to the cinema to take in a movie".

Including emphasis, you can see the following excerpt from the Wikipedia entry for media consumption uses this phrasal verb.

Media consumption or media diet is the sum of information and entertainment media taken in by an individual or group.

So if your reader is doing the consumption I would suggest took in.

Merriam Webster

  1. to receive into the mind : perceive

Wiktionary

  1. (transitive) To absorb or comprehend.

    I was so sleepy that I hardly took in any of the lecture.

To my way of thinking, web sites have a "visit" count. Components of the web site would have a "uses" count, incrementing each time the component was used.

Or "consumed".

I guess it depends on how you're representing that data. I'd advise you to take a look at various video/audio streaming sites and see how they represent their stats in the same context as you're using. After all, they've done the legwork for you and it's in a language that many people understand.

Consider consulted.

For example:

  • Even though it is now 17 years old, this is still among the most consulted books I own.

  • The transcript was seen as a substitute for the book, and the audio was rarely consulted.

One possibility is "perused":

: to look at or read (something) in an informal or relaxed way.
: to examine or read (something) in a very careful way

It's suitable for uses like, perusing a book, so would probably fit for your use case as well.

  • Any insight on how it is that it can mean both "in depth" and "cursorily"? – hkBst Sep 16 '16 at 17:23
  • @hkBst Not much, it was a surprise to read it in a dictionary definition for me too. I think that has to be deduced from context, but when I think of the usages I have seen, both do match. But the meanings aren't necessarily contradictory, I think. – hyde Sep 16 '16 at 18:21
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    I found a smatter of insight on wiktionary, according to which scan went trough a similar shift of meaning... – hkBst Sep 17 '16 at 16:21

I would consider "observed":

observe
to watch and sometimes also listen to (someone or something) carefully

Assuming this is to be displayed to end users, one word is going to sound strange on at least a strong minority of the link/resource types. From the developer's perspective, access works for everything, because everything is a resource or file, but this makes for a generally poor user experience.

Graphics / Photos / Articles / Videos / Accounts / Settings / (Really anything that is primarily visual -and not interactive- in nature):

Viewed

Last Viewed on [Date]

Viewed X Times

Audio Files / Podcasts / Playlists / etc. :

Played

Last Played on [Date]

Played X Times

Opened

I don't personally like the "one size fits all" approach, mostly because it doesn't. If you must, opened sounds better than accessed, and applies to most media types (open a book, newspaper or magazine, even open a link - whether technically correct or not being irrelevant to the end user). In fact, open is used more commonly in reference to files (open an image, open a video, open a window, open iTunes, etc.)

If your website is some kind of content management system, and the user of it is doing some kind of testing to see if e.g., the content is correct, then reviewing or checking might actually be what is going on.

Accessed/viewed/played/opened are generic and seen all over the place. Visited is applicable especially if clicking the thing opens a separate page from the one the user's currently on. (You visit a page or a website, and you'd say that if you were very aware you were using a browser, as opposed to a slick, modern site that looks more like an app.)

If it's a consumer marketing kind of website, especially one where the user is charged for the content, you might want to use experienced or enjoyed or some other aspirational term. (If it's a boring site, or they're getting paid to use it, perhaps suffered or endured, lol.)

Nobody would ever use perused. Consulted is for reference works, but I think even Wikipedia doesn't use that term.

Maybe if you gave us more examples of the types of content available, and a little more context about what the website does or provides, better suggestions could be provided.

Good luck!

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