A Design of Two Halves and Appy Days

13 11 2011

In terms of visual design the top portion of the ABC News home page is very clear and well laid out.  The colour schemes of mainly dark blue with lighter blue and white is easy on the eye and clear on what the different sections of the website are.  There are no banner ads above the header, only a plug for an ABC News show – a Diane Sawyer exclusive with Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly.  ABC use a top navigation, with their primary navigation menu just below the header.  A good feature of this navigation menu is how it is split up simply by using a different shade of blue, so the user knows where the news sections end and the sections specific to different ABC programmes begin.  The use of red text also highlights when a story is predominantly featured around video or photographs.

The middle portion of the website adopts a more grid-based layout.  The left hand section lists the latest headlines, the middle section contains stories which heavily feature photos, and the right section is for news “just in” that updates automatically.

The further you scroll down the ABC News home page, the more it starts to lose its organized feel and it becomes harder to navigate.  It seems as though the less important stuff for the home page has just been thrown together at the bottom instead of the planning seemingly given to the upper portion.  Towards the bottom of the page are located links to social media, slideshows, adverts, newsletter sign-ups, “This Day in History” and links to ABC Local News.

Overall, I like the way ABC News is presented when you immediately visit the site given its clarity and use of colour.  However, the further you scroll down the home page the more disorganized and overly cluttered it becomes.

The ABC News app is a fairly straightforward version that mirrors the website in its sections and content.  It is divided into a news section, a section for ABC news programmes, a video section and a local news section.  It is the local news section I think is the best part of the app.  In the section you can choose which cities you would like news to appear from and deselect cities you are not interested in.  This has an advantage over the website as there you can only choose one city at a time.  On the whole it is an average app – it is simple to use but quite boring to look at.  I would look at other news apps before considering ABC News.

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4 responses

14 11 2011
emeewes

You didn’t mention the actual performance of the app. I say that because CBS News’s app was awful and it locked up all the time. How would you grade it purely on a performance standpoint?

15 11 2011
gfisken

To be fair, I had no problems with the performance of the app. It has been out for a few months now so they have had plenty of opportunity to iron out any flaws. So from a purely performance perspective, it does a decent job.

15 11 2011
jthomp72

For someone who has been highly critical of ABC News in the past you were surprisingly soft this week. I guess we Americans do one thing well and it’s make things look pretty. I think that’s a testament to our short attention spans that news organizations seem to think the best way to do things is to have the best looking site first, and to worry about content later.

15 11 2011
gfisken

Haha, I would say constructively critical rather than highly critical!! Maybe I’m just running out of new things to complain about. I’m sure I’ll find something for next week!!

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