GrokSurf's San Diego

Local observations on water, environment, technology, law & politics

Posts Tagged ‘Techmeme’

News websites – appearance makes a difference

Posted by George J Janczyn on November 12, 2009

The website design of online news services may not be a big deal if you keep up with news via feeds from specific sites or from aggregation services, which I do, but I also like to visit particular news sites. One thing that bothers me about some news sites, though, is their layout. I wish they wouldn’t find it necessary to use glitzy, gimmicky designs. If I want show and sparkle, I’ll visit an entertainment site.

HuffingtonPost

Speaking of entertainment sites, I can’t decide if the Huffington Post is news or entertainment. It opens with a large sensational headline/picture combo. Scrolling down you find a cluttered razzle-dazzle three-column layout (in theory nothing wrong with 3 columns–my blog uses three as well. Anyway, I’m just a hometown blogger using a standard WordPress theme).

Left-hand column headlines for featured blog posts get varied colors; until recently, the right-hand column jumped up or down a line every ten seconds! (click images for larger size).

HuffingtonPost2

The comment links below each story periodically flash yellow (shown in the second shot); I’ve seen the entire page background flash yellow momentarily from time to time. Lots of pictures and video, pictures and video. The chaotic hopscotch multicolor design makes the site not only unappealing for finding news, it makes me want to leave as soon as possible.

SignOnSanDiego

Locally, SignOnSandiego (which just rolled out a major site redesign intended to “rock the town” according to an earlier U-T tweet) doesn’t look very newsy when you first reach the page. It presents a selected main story accompanied by a few additional headlines, followed by a popular (and superfluous) technique of embedding a large picture/headline slideshow looping 4 or 5 stories every 8 seconds. The navigation bar at the top has rollover pulldowns to various topics, a technique which provides reasonable coverage. Still, to me the overall layout and commercial focus feels like a billboard. I hope they phase out the recurring nagging popup window asking for feedback.

SignOnSearch

As an aside, SignOn’s search function is seriously broken; a search for “Sanders budget” pulls up nothing for 2009. A search for “San Diego budget” pulls up listings, but the entries listed show incorrect publication dates unless you click through to the article. When I did the search today (Nov 12), the first page of results included 14 entries all dated Nov 12 but a click through to the articles reveals a wide variety of actual publication dates (the Nov 12 date on the search screen entries appears to come from the date you did the search. Other entries show no date at all.

 

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