The daily newspaper for Southamptonhttp://www.dailyecho.co.uk/
Navigation bar The navigation bar appears on the top of every page, this allows easy navigation, meaning the site is easy to use. The left of the navigation bar is grey with white text suggests a more serious tone than the red background of the white text to the right. This multiple coloured navigation bar adds decoration to the page but also signifies the type of topic which can be found on either side of the navigation bar. For example the topics to the left of the navigation bar are more serious and typically expected from traditional local newspapers; such as news. These categories are major in comparison to those on the left and their significance is represented by the black (often used to reflect severity background However the things on the right are more for entertainment purposes, so best suit the brighter colour.
Hyperlinked mast head As seen on many local news sites the mast head which appears on the top of every page is hyperlinked to the home page. This allows users to move easily from the page they are currently viewing to the home page. I think this feature exists because easy navigation is required because the site is intended for people who have different levels of skills. If the website is too difficult to use for some users it is unlikely that they will visit the site often; and it is important for readers not to be scared away as it will decrease the popularity of the newspaper company.
Subheadings Subtitles such as ‘Latest headlines’ and ‘most popular’ allow the user to find stories that others are interested in and what the news paper thinks that most people will be most interested in. This saves time because other possibilities include listing the stories alphabetically which may be a strenuous search because some of the stories may be older and no longer relevant. ‘Most popular’ is about halfway down the page; where ‘Latest headlines’ is much higher in the page The categories are composed in such a way so that the most up to date stories are at the top if the page because users will read from the top of the page downwards and therefore be more likely to read the stories at the top of the page: which will be those that are most up to date.
Sub sections Subsections at the bottom of the page are hyperlinks so act as quick links that take the user directly to title of the section. This sub sections are of the less conventional sections that are found in local news papers; but the parts that are becoming increasingly popular. These hyperlinks are at the bottom of the page because they are of an obvious size that they can be easily seen but are not overtaking the top of the page of the websites primary purpose. Features such as ‘dating’ may be most suitable for those audiences thought to be the ‘experiential’ according to VALS (Values and Life styles) which are 5% of the population.
Search facility This feature is typical of local news website. The search bar appears on every page. The purpose of the search facility is to allow users to find things on the website that they cannot find using hyperlinks. The search facility works by recognising words entered into the search bar to text on the website. This means that the computer will filter through all information that it thinks will be relevant. The search facility makes the website easy to use, and less stressful for users; making it more popular than if there was perhaps no search bar.
Hyperlinked images The hyperlinked images offer users the opportunity to access constant news updates through social networking sites. The images are hyperlinked so that if the user is interested in the services which are available the can click on the image and in return will get an immediate response; saving them time and effort. These images are at the top of the news page; meaning that the links do not have to be searched for.
Comments The ability to comment on the news act in a similar way to a forum. Forums allow users to discuss their opinions about the news. This interactive feature allows the users to feel as though their opinion is welcome. This feature also means, however, that the comments must be monitored at all times because some people ma use this opportunity as a place to express their offensive views. This may be most applicable for those audiences who use the media for cultural transition because communicating with others and voicing their opinions makes them feel accepted in society according to Blumler and Katz.
Layout The website is laid into two columns, which is similar to the layout of a print newspaper. This continuity of all editions means that the website is easily recognised of a newspaper. The columns contain smaller stories aided with hyperlinked images so that the user can view the full story if necessary. The headings (also similar to those found in a newspaper) are in bold at the top of the stories.
Login The login on the top of the page implies that many users have their own personal user area of the website. This is good for people who use the medium for surveillance according to Bulmer and Katz because they can personalise the news that appears on the top of the page when they have logged on. This may also appeal to those audiences who are categorised as ‘belongers’ because they feel part of something having their own personal space on a news website. This makes reading the news more convenient for those who are only interested in particular news.
Navigation bar The navigation is slightly different to those that I have previously analysed because it is not divided into two section. I think this is because city news sites tend to be less about the local people and more about the city its self; meaning that they provide less opportunities for advertising and dating and other such features found on other news websites. Such opportunities are absent because the city is more nationally related than small towns so the people who live there have more places they can visit to advertise than their local newspaper. Also there is more people in the city than in a small town so there is less space for the newspaper to include everybody.
Interactivity This website offers interactivity via a forum. The forum allows predominately local people to voice their opinions about the news; this brings society together because it is a form of communication and makes the user feel part of something. This is most appealing for the 38% of the population which are thought to be ‘belongers’ according to VALS (values and Lifestyles) Additionally the use of the imperative ‘Join’ makes the user feel as though they are obliged to converse with London. Also the use of ‘London’ implies to the reader that they could discuss their feelings with something much greater than their selves. Every time a new comment is added the field automatically updates so the latest is always at the top.
Layout This website does not follow conventions that I have seen on previous local news sites. This web page is not presented in multiple columns; but in one long column and predominately about one story. This is unusual because most local news websites conquer many stories on the first page by giving short introductions to multiple stories. To fit more stories on the page the page is usually divided into at least two columns.
Search facility The search facility is a very typical feature of a local news website primarily because it provides easy accessibility and navigation. The user can use this if they do not find direct links to what they desire. This makes the website very easy to use. This is very important so that the website can be used by a wide range of people with different ICT skills so that it appeals to everyone.