Globe and Mail Website Redesign
I work in environmental law, but I am also a web designer. Designing for the internet and it’s wide variety of users is very challenging, no one does it perfectly. That being said, it is becoming indispensable to design websites well. Users have many places to go for information, if you do not design well, they will just click on out of there. The Globe and Mail, Canada’s premier newspaper just redesigned their website and my verdict is: Disaster.
The previous version was not amazing, but this is truly a mess.
Below is a screenshot and here are a few notes. My main complaints, as a web designer and usability professional are:
1. Four!, different ways to navigate the site (see blue lines). More is not better, it is confusing.
2. Hideous banner as the first thing you see. I understand the need for advertising revenue, but this comprimises the entire reader experience – thus reducing readership and advertising. (see red lines)
3. Red headlines and Black headlines – consistency?
4. Red lines to seperate articles – drawing your attention to the lines instead of the articles
5. Confusing search options
6. Over 10 unique colours on the various design elements – 3 or 4 is the maximum.
7. Drop down menues where the top link acts as a link! It should only trigger the drop down or don’t do a drop-down.
I could go on. But, largely, this redesign looks like it was done on a small budget with no high quality designers. The Newspaper industry is dying because of bad design, see our post on saving newspapers through great design.
The best use of the internet to deliver newspapers is the recently released New York Times Reader (not the website). It is a truly well designed software that makes reading online as pleasurable as the print format.
The Globe and Mail is destroying it’s credibility with this low quality production.
Globe and Mail Highlighted
Published on May 21, 2009
Online newspaper design (francais and english)
Here are some screen-shots of some English and French newspapers/news sites. In general, the English sites are less cluttered and easier to read. Despite the excellent content on sites like Courrier International, I have a difficult time finding and enjoying the content.
Note 1: Placing a banner on the top part of the screen eats up a lot of “first view” content space (4/5 french sites and 2.5/5 english ones do) . This obviously appeals to advertisers, but the real risk is that I miss an interesting story and leave the site. People do not tend to scroll down sites.
If the first thing I see is advertisement, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Does the print version of these papers place ads on the top part of the paper? I don’t think so. So why would you do it online?
I want to calculate the print to advertisement ratio on these sites, the amount of black ink to colour ink, and create a contrast-ratio map of the sites. Anyone know how to do this quickly?
March 12, 2008