10 September 2008

Four Ways To Improve Online Newspapers

Despite the launch of several next-generation websites, many online newspapers in the UK still have some “annoying features”.

That’s the view outlined in a recent e-consultancy blog post which includes a short guide recommending ways that news sites could improve on things that “can spoil the user experience”.

Here are some highlights from the list:

1 - Cut The Overlays

“Overlays can be even more irritating than pop-ups as they obscure the article you are attempting to read, forcing you instead to search for the ‘x’ that will allow you to close the thing.”

2 - Strengthen Site Search

“For example, the top headline on Times Online this morning was ‘Rice heads to Georgia amid scorched earth claims’.

“Enter this headline into Google and you’ll find that the search engine has already indexed it, but the newspaper hasn’t.”

3 - Speed Up Comments

“I appreciate the fact that comments sometimes need to be checked for abusive or racist language, as well as spam, but this needs to be done quickly enough to allow the debate to flow properly.”

4 - Don’t Be Afraid To Link Out

“Newspapers are frequently linked to by bloggers, so it only seems fair that they occasionally return the favour, especially as many journalists use blogs for inspiration or for background for their own articles.

“Newspapers can also benefit from linking out more; a recent study by blogger David Eaves found a correlation between the number of outbound and the number of inbound links.”

The full list is available on e-consultancy and reactions to it can be seen on Guardian.co.uk’s Digital Content blog.

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