Website critique – hit me with your best blog

September 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

Los Angeles Times logo

Wow, the LA Times website must require a small army to maintain the homepage. When you first go onto the website, it appears to be a very well put together website: a stacked navigation bar – sections like local, U.S., world, business, sports, entertainment, health, living, travel, opinion and more – with drop down options for each section that further breaks down the sections.

A dizzying feeling overcomes the reader, however, when it’s realized that the homepage goes on for what feels like forever. You get lost in what you’re looking at. It seems as though every category¬† that can be found in the navigation bar has been laid out on the homepage. And every section has two or three stories to go with it. This can be beneficial to a degree, but how long does a reader want to scroll down a page to get to a section when they can easily click on the section from the navigation bar?

It is nice, though, that the option to comment is made available for every story. Also, that in the top left hand corner of the homepage, there are options to share the website on Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and Yahoo!.

The website has utilized everything that makes for a user-friendly website. Everything. There is a section full of tags, almost every story has photos, there is a search bar, there is a weather section that has the weather for the next two days, the traffic for L.A. is on the homepage. The most commented, most viewed and latest are all there. Videos and photos are made available. But is really good to use ALL of it? It becomes suffocating. I neared the bottom of the page and forgot what I had looked at 30 seconds prior. Too much information comes at you way too fast.

The art of simplicity and userbility is one that has to be worked hard to achieve and maintain.

On to the blog

Jay Baer's convinceandconvert.com

Jay Baer‘s blog, Convince and Convert, is a very polished blog, though it lacks a few elements to make it as user-friendly as it could be. Baer is a social media consultant for major companies and teaches, through his posts, about the best ways to utilize the social media world.

Instead of the usual options in the navigation bar, the options in the navigation bar are specific to the site and what it’s all about. The options are: Blog, social media consulting, speaking, newsletter, free social media tools, Twitter interviews (which I found very interesting) and the about section. There is also a search bar fixed to the navigation bar.At the bottom of all of Baer’s posts, he has included the option to share the story through Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn and Digg. He also includes related posts and an option to sign up to receive the newsletter – after every post. Every post also has an option for comments some of which Baer responded to.

Visually, the page had photos with every post but I didn’t see a single video and the posts look too long, way too much text on the page.

Really enjoyed: Baer’s “People I Read and Admire” (linking out!) and when he posts about someone, he links out to their Twitter account.

All in all – high userbility on the site for what the site aims to do.

-Spicer

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