Tag Archives: usability

Local online news video design and usability: What’s working, what’s not

Movie Icon: RSS(Editor’s Note: This is the second in a three-part series on local online news video, summarizing the findings of a thesis study that examined the Minnesota media market and their use of online video. The second focuses on design and usability. Tomorrow’s part three will explore advertising. Love to hear feedback in the comments below.)

In addition to yesterday’s look at what’s working and what’s not in online video content, local news sites have a long way to go in reaching usability standards for video players, including location, presentation, buttons, hosting and more. Many news sites simply don’t have the resources for a redesign, especially at smaller organizations.

Corey Anderson, Web editor at the online-only Minnpost, said as a result of time and budget constraints, Minnpost.com has not been able to organize and showcase its video on the website. Clonts from the Pioneer Press had a similar sentiment, saying that the current focus is to develop a strategy in content and then build a strategically-designed multimedia page.

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Newspaper websites need to improve their readability

Most newspaper websites are doing a bad design job in making their stories readable. Too many are using:

  • small fonts,
  • long off-putting paragraphs,
  • no subheadings,
  • no in-content boxes or pictures, and
  • no in-content links.

To explain more, I’ve written a companion post on online readability (design, not writing – and this post was first published here). And here’s an example each of their news stories so you can see the issue: Daily Mail, Express, FT, Guardian, Independent, Mirror, Sun, Telegraph, Times.

Main readability design mistakes

This table summarises the main ways they are going wrong.

Tiny fonts

They are all using font sizes that are too small for comfortable reading on copy-heavy pages. Only the Guardian, Independent, Mirror and Telegraph offer obvious controls for resizing text.

But most of the sites use 12 or 13px fonts for body copy. I think this is too small to be the default – 16px is a much more readable size. Only the Guardian comes anywhere near this. Continue reading