Blog 4: Ferguson Portests

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I choose to critique BBC’s coverage on Ferguson protests. BBC is famous for its coverage on breaking news and its comprehensive analysis. In this story package, BBC, as usual, provides amply information and uses different kinds of media. The editors mainly use text, embed informative photos, like the preliminary autopsy report and map of St. Louis, videos and audios to present a whole picture of the protests. The text helps explain the whole story; photos showcases the intensity of the protests, and the video and audios can bring the readers to the spot and sense the tension. But the editors did not use any infographics or interactive designs.

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As an ongoing story, BBC made a video timeline to present the causes and consequences. However, the timeline is embedded in an article named “The first sparks”, thus the readers may skip the timeline if they did not pay much attention. The coverage did not only contain breaking news, but also in-depth analysis and data, so in terms of content, BBC did a good job on emphasizing it as an ongoing story. Yet, in terms of design, the designer failed to clearly present the audience that this is a package of story that being updated each day. The contents seem a little bit disorganized without clear hierarchy, thus the audiences may feel lost when looking through the whole package.

The user experience is a little bit boring. BBC is not as much stylish as other news websites like USA today or the Guardian. The layout is simple, which only contains three columns. The overall design is clean but too simple, as there is no interactive designs in this package. I think in terms of this story, it would be better if the designers make an interactive storyline integrating photos and text in a way that attracts the readers. Or perhaps the designers could try to add more design elements, like making the titles of stories show up on the images when the users hover the images.

The intended audience is people who are either simply looking for news or being extremely interested in Ferguson shooting, and they probably are familiar with BBC. Thus they may get used to the simple and dry style of BBC, even appreciate it. It is understandable that BBC prefers to stick to its style. However, lacking of interactive elements or visual elements would fail to get the interest of potential audiences and help them digest the information.

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2 thoughts on “Blog 4: Ferguson Portests

  1. I agree with your analysis of the site. I think the timeline could have been a really simple and effective way of telling an on going story like this, but the fact that it is within another article makes it harder to find.

    I think making more interactive features could have made the design more appealing to the user. I like the simple three column layout, because it minimizes confusion/activity on the page that could take away from the content. However, it could definitely be stylized a little more.

    Overall the BBC did have good coverage with the amount of stories provided, but I think they could have presented them in a better way.

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  2. I agree with you that users of this site are more than likely there for the hard news rather than the design of the site. I think adding more attractive features would make for a better user experience, but I don’t think that’s what they’re focused on.

    I will say that it is kind of hard to find the Ferguson reports on their page. It’s not very obvious where to go unless you just search for it. I feel like a collection of stories as important as these should be get a bigger lead.

    Although they are not really focused on the appeal of the site, I think the BBC did a good job of telling the story.

    Jason

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