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Strengths and Weaknesses of three online news websites…

February 18, 2009

Online Newspaper: The Detroit News

Strengths:

The home-page of “The Detroit News” is presented neatly and clearly in columns. This makes the text much more accessible to the reader.

  • I particularly like the layout of “The Detroit News” as it uses a similar page layout as a newspaper. The most important news is situated on the top left corner and the least important news is situated on the bottom left, alike the layout used for newspapers. Furthermore, the newspaper influence is further evident from the link to the front page of “The Detroit News” newspaper.
  • Situated above the news story, there’s a number of links such as “comment”, “email”, “print,” and “text size”. This makes the readers experience much more pleasurable as it provides for the readers individual needs. It also highlights one of the benefits of using the online version of “The Detroit News” in comparison to the newspaper.
  • There’s an archive situated on the top of the homepage. This makes the website particularly unique in comparison to other news websites. 
  •  The website segregated the main (most important) news categories at the top using black tabs, and less important news categories by using grey tabs. For example, the website selected Home, News and Local as more important so used black tabs to draw more attention. Categories such as Classified, Jobs and Cars are least important, indicated by the fact their tabs are grey and draw less attention.

Weaknesses:

  • There’s a large amount of text on the home-page which can be overwhelming for the reader. 
  • When you hover the cursor over a hyperlink, the text doesn’t change color. Therefore you don’t know if the link is responding before you select it.
  • When you select a story from the home-page, rather than opening the link in a new browser, it proceeds to use the same one. I prefer to keep the homepage of the website in a separate browser to avoid waiting for the browser to load every time I return to the home-page. 

Online newspaper:Chicago Tribune

Strengths:

  • The home-page has a neat layout through the use of borders which divides each story.

  • The headlining story titled “Burris open to ethics probes…” selects words amongst the text and turns them into hyperlinks.  The website links another story in relation to the word, in order to provide relative information for the reader. Otherwise the word “acknowledged” in context would create some ambiguity.
  • The Lead of a story located on the home page is approximately two sentences long. These two sentences provide enough information for the reader to get a ‘jist’ of the story without being overwhelmed by a lead that continues for an entire paragraph.
  • The layout of the story is set in a neat straight column, enabling the reader to read the text with great ease.
  • On the top right hand side of the homepage, the website provides the reader with breaking news and the time it was released. This gives the reader an insight into when the story took place. It also gives the impression that the website continuously follows the news as it happens, when it happens
  • On the top left corner of the homepage, the website provides a radar This enables the reader to check the weather at the present moment.

 Weaknesses:

  • When you select a story from the homepage, rather than opening up a new browser, it opens up in the same browser so you lose the home-page.
  • There’s a large amount of free space situated on the bottom left corner which could be used to place advertisements, instead the website places the advertisements amongst the text.
  • There are no contact details to allow the reader to respond to the journalist.
  • There’s no additional links to blogs in relation to the story.
  • When you move your cursor across the tabs, windows pop up which can be inconvenient.
  • There are too many categories, which can be overwhelming.  I would prefer the categories to be less specific and more general.

 

Online Newspaper:Houston Chronicle

Strengths

  • You can clearly identify the headlining story in comparison to the rest of the muddled text.
  • Information about the weather is clearly identifiable on the top left corner. It also provides the current temperature, the lowest temperature, and the highest.
  • The website uses a number of images alongside the text on the home-page.
  • Situated at the end of the story are the contact details of the journalist who wrote the report. This enables the reader to have a voice and respond to the source.
  • The website provides an option for text to be translated to Spanish in order to appeal to a larger target audience.

Weaknesses:

  • The home-page has an overwhelming amount of text in a disorderly layout. There are no borders to determine where one story starts and where another ends.
  • The text is situated far too closely together.
  • The layout of the text in the headlining story wraps around an advertisement, which is distracting.
  • There are far too many categories. They need to be more specific so not to confuse the reader.  

 

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Adam permalink
    February 21, 2009 9:28 pm

    great presentation and insight. thank you

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