Local Newspaper; Blog Critique

September 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

The Times Herald Record

Recordonline.com is the companion site to the Times Herald-Record, the local newspaper for the Hudson Valley region. As far as usability is concerned, the site has the basics, which are fairly easy to locate: nav bar up top, weather, top stories and latest updates are all before the fold.

The nav bar is double exposed below the fold; however if you click it you are not taken to a new page. A list of the top stories for each section pop up, which is more convenient than having to physically go to another page (that split-second it takes to load is enough to warrant impatience, no?).

Even further down is more tailored for the reader. Categories like Your Photos, Your Town, Your Calendar (readers can submit events to the calendar), Today’s Poll are located in the center column between the most clicked stories, latest blog posts, and local real estate/car/job advertisements. The site boasts its social networking availability with mobile/text message links and even a Facebook widget.

What I like about the site is that it’s pretty straightforward. You don’t really have to search to hard to find something, and there a lot of visuals to help you out. While the nav bar is drop-down based, it isn’t quite as intense as Newsday’s. The site touts interactiveness, and I think the calendar is a nice idea.

What I don’t like is the color scheme—it’s not pleasing to the eye for me, and when I clicked on the news link I was directed to this:

this list of links hurt my eyes and I really didn’t feel like looking through it.


Notcot.org is a design blog that I think particularly succeeds in usability. I’m a firm believer that simplicity is the way to go, and notcot executes its purpose while maintaining a simple interface. Under each photo is a short description of the picture. If you are interested to know more, you can click the photo, which will take you directly to the original source. Viewers can go to a random design by clicking the “random” button located at the top right. Viewers can also submit links to designers and pieces they like (top left).

Since there are over 700 pages and about 50 designs on each page, this search bar is really helpful:

You can search by date or by “hearts,” which is basically the equivalent of Facebook “likes.” That way you can see what designs people like the most.

At the bottom of the site are two rows of thumbnails that link to Notcot’s sister sites, dedicated to fashion (notcouture) and liquor (liqurious), both of which are setup like Notcot.

Simple but efficient.



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