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Why your news site design sucks and how to fix it
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Why your news site design sucks and how to fix it


A short presentation on what is wrong with design for news-based websites.

A short presentation on what is wrong with design for news-based websites.

Published in Design , Technology , News & Politics
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    No notes for slide
  • Name, what I do, etc.
  • There is a tendency to cram too much crap on a page. No set of priorities. Editing needed. Makes it hard to tell at a glance what is actually news.
  • Crazy! No hierarchy, either.
  • Not sure if there’s a “right” number, but surely there is an upper limit.
  • Duh. Don’t care if it’s a file photo. Help me remember who / what you’re writing about.
    Infographics are neat, too. Big picture sets the standard.
  • Sucks for performance. Not accessible for disabled users. Isn’t open like the web is.
  • Pretty small variation. Jan Jancourt 600pt.
  • Much better! lets me read shit at a glance.
  • We have ways to use better typefaces (sIFR, cufon, @font-face).
  • Don’t use too many typefaces! This doesn’t count Ads or the weight/italic variants
  • Not tiny little links. Big ones. Make sure your sections are logical and make sense. Stuff that makes sense as a newspaper section doesn’t necessarily on the web.
  • Space around “stuff”. Enhances readability. Is a symptom of being willing to edit. Has good ratios & margins.
  • White space! Heiarchy! Good Typefaces. Not too many of them. Not too many ads. Good use of color.
  • Nice use of type. Good scale. Good at a glance to see what’s new. Good use of color. Big navigation.
  • Big section links. Whitespace! Not cramming too much shit on the page. Type size variations are adequate.
  • 4 files at a time. Slow.
  • 2MB! Fuckin’ a. Even on a fast connection this sucks. Sucks to download, and that’s a lot of shit for the browser to have to sort out.
  • Grandma test. Does it slow the computer to a crawl. It’s a webpage. Not a video editor. Not a web app.
  • Good design tends to come from organiztations that have good priorities and are well organized. But there is opportunity to differientiate a site, at least locally.
  • Hatemail and job offers.


  • 1. WHY YOUR SITE SUCKS and some ideas to fix it
  • 3. 558 links 17 “links”
  • 4. Number of links on homepage 600 558 450 427 425 300 323 225 220 199 186 150 151 0 Star Tribune NYT WaPo CNN Slate Google News MPR MnIndy Sites accessed 10 PM, December 7, 2009
  • 5. Every story needs at least one image Make it big! Hey look, a rooster! flickr photo by lucanrt
  • 6. Get rid of flash (Except for video) A big flash flickr photo by Gentry's Daguerreian Studio
  • 7. TYPOGRAPHY: Variation in scale? 18 pt 13 pt
  • 8. TYPOGRAPHY: Variation in scale! 34 pt 10 pt
  • 9. Web Type Tips • No more than 2.5 typefaces • Web-safe fonts are ugly • More leading • Have a type repertoire
  • 10. 1. Courier (or similar) 3. Agency (or similar) 5. Verdana 7. Helvetica 2. Arial 4. Times New Roman 6. Times
  • 11. Big links for big sections
  • 12. whitespace is nice space
  • 13. Make search suck less • Recent content first • Use faceting • Highlight search terms • Auto-complete
  • 14. Performance: File Requests per page 300 240 180 120 60 0 Star Tribune NYT MinnPost MnIndy MPR News Q Google News
  • 15. Performance: Page Size (kb) HTML Stylesheets Javascript Images Flash / Other 2,500 2,000 1,500 1,000 500 0 NYT Star Tribune MinnPost MnIndy MPR News Q Google News
  • 16. CLIENT PERFORMANCE: • Does it scroll ok on an old computer? • Does it have lots of scripts?
  • 17. Good Design = Good Business
  • 18. Justin Heideman @justinph