Refinery29 is one of those sites that I enjoy visiting often. But a lot of the time, the website’s design can be overwhelming and distracting. The home page does a good job of showing hierarchy with a Today’s Hot Stories section, then a Today’s News section, followed by Videos and Editor’s Picks. A sidebar with the Most Popular stories is further down the page, next to the Today’s News section.
There’s already a lot going on on the home page. First, I think the Most Popular stories section should be higher up – it shouldn’t be buried so far down. Although the sections are clearly defined, the news section is a bit chaotic in my opinion. There are a ton of links and photos, and it’s hard to figure out where my eye should go or which article I should read next. I would keep maybe the five most recent links with the featured photos, and only put the links to the rest of the stories, so that there aren’t too many visual elements to try and focus on. They could do something similar to the scrolling news column on Pitchfork’s website.
So overall, the website doesn’t exactly minimize noise – though it manages to do so in the Videos and Editor’s Pick sections – so it doesn’t successfully make it obvious what’s clickable.
The other pages within the site have similar problems. The fashion page is really busy, and unlike the home page, it’s really hard to see any clearly defined sections. The news and politics page is the cleanest out of all the pages. The other pages have a similar layout to the homepage with the hot stories section at the top, followed by the most recent stories, and then videos.
I think there should be more hierarchy, less clutter, more sections that are clearly defined, and more white space to help ease the audience into the site.