I chose to critique The New York Times‘ website as a whole. We all know that they often publish amazing interactive stories, but their website as a whole is also well designed.
Right off the bat, you see their iconic New York Times masthead in bold blackletter. Underneath are all the different sections of the website, of which there are many. Also, on the top left of the page, there is a pull out with all of the sections as well as the sub categories within those sections. This can make navigating their large website much quicker.
At the top of the home page they have a few of their lead stories running pretty big to grab attention. As you scroll down, the lesser or older stories are also listed under their sections. They have photos running with most of their lead stories to draw the reader in. They change up their type faces a lot depending on what type of story it is and how important it is. I like this because it makes it easier to tell the stories apart from each other.
As for Krug’s five guidelines for capturing reader attention, a visual hierarchy is created by the placement of the story, the size and font of the headline, and the size of the photo. The top of the page can become rather jumbled up because they are trying to fit so many stories in one area at the same time. From their standpoint, I’m sure they just want the viewer to see their story right away and click on it, but it can get confusing what is what. They don’t break up the stories into sections until the bottom of the home page. Of course, if you knew what you wanted to read, you could go directly to that section and you would know what you were going to get. It is very clear was to what is clickable. From what I could see, all of the links were bolded, drawing the eye there and making it easy to distinguish what you can click on. There is a lot going on, but I think their particular type is clean enough that it is readable. There aren’t too many ads, and for those reasons, I think that noise is kept to a minimum.
Overall I think that the page can be quite overwhelming because of all of the stories at once, but once you take some time to read around, it because clear what is what. The large bold headlines point out what are the important stories. Navigation to particular sections is very easy and convenient. Photos are used well to give some context to the story before you even read it. I think the design doesn’t deviate too far from Krug’s guidelines, which makes it an effective page.