“All politics is local,” Boston Democrat and House Speaker Tip O’Neill famously said, emphasizing the importance to politicians of bringing lofty policies down to the immediate focus of the voter.
That’s just as true in news and it’s something I rarely see in the new media. It’s one thing when Groupon promotes local deals, but where are the Sunday ads online? They’re not on Boston.com and neither are they on Patch.
News websites are in a unique position in many towns where they are potentially the only web designers around. This means that local sites can build relationships with local merchants by getting them online and connecting them to customers through the news site.
Unfortunately, small town web design often ranges from the merely mediocre to people who don’t realize it’s not 1995 any more.
On second thought, I suppose news sites aren’t the best places to go for web design. One thing every news site I have ever come across does that persists in annoying me is what I like to call the “Format Flip.”
You load the page and it’s got the picture (maybe it’s a slide show) and top stories around it with navigation/search buttons at the top, along with the masthead and maybe a banner ad. Then you scroll down and the layout suddenly changes to section headings with day-old stories underneath them even though the navigation buttons are at the top.
Here’s an example from The Worcester (Mass.) Telegram & Gazette:
I find that kind of sudden transition jarring and annoying, especially for some sites that end up being 1/4 neat display and 3/4 section headings. In fact, I dislike scrolling in general, especially when you scroll down to the end of the story by a quarter of an inch and immediately have to click for the next page.
That kind of thing is the internet equivalent to being beseiged by pushy salespeople in a department store. It makes you wonder if the business cares about its customers.
- twistedravings posted this