I chose to critique the website of Los Angeles Times. As a well-known news outlet, it covers local, domestic and international issues, so I want to examine how the website arranges and presents all the information.
The hierarchy of its homepage is clear, as it lines off different sections. Larger photos and headlines also help the audiences to have a general idea about what the important news are at the first glance. The website also uses different colors (black and grey) and different fonts to separate the headlines and excerpts of the stories.
Besides, its navigation bar is very direct and user-friendly. It locates on the very left of the homepage and its black background color can easily grab the audiences’ attention, as Friedman suggested that a website should “manage to focus users’ attention.” By listing all the sections in the navigation bar, readers can easily find the section that interest them the most and switch to that section by clicking on it.
It is worth to mention that the website also designs a visual browse that mainly uses photos to present news. Each page only has three to four photos with one sentence under each of the photo, which fits the demand of the readers who prefer getting news by scanning photos.
The website also takes advantages of conventions by following the formats of newspapers. It mainly uses black and white– the basic colors of print newspapers. I think these simple colors somehow help the readers better focus on the stories.
The headlines, photos and videos are all clickable, and when hovering on them, readers will notice the change of the cursor. Besides, the title of each section is short and concise, which meets the principle of “making use of effective writing.” The phrases like “L.A. Now”, “Popular This Hour”, “In Case You Missed it”, etc., all make the readers understand the contents as quickly as possible.
The only thing I would like to change is to minimizing the noises. Here by “noises”, I mean advertisements. I understand that nowadays, news outlets’ revenues are mainly from commercials, yet putting advertisements right below the newspaper’s title is a little bit annoying. I think it would be better to put them in sidebars.
Overall, the design of LA Times is efficient and user-friendly. It has fruitful contents as well as simple and clear design, which meets the principles of web design suggested by Friedman and Krug.