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What Do You Want on a News Website? 95

Posted by Cliff
from the information-that-matters dept.
SomethingBig asks: "The BBC is asking people to redesign their homepage, with the best design winning an Apple laptop. With news websites becoming ever more crowded and cluttered, what is really the most important information for a news organization's homepage? Should it contain local news? Traffic? Weather? What type of information would you want on the BBC's homepage (or CNN's if you're in America)?"
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What Do You Want on a News Website?

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  • Break it down (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Siberwulf (921893) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @11:54PM (#15218496)
    I want the ability to drag and drop various parts of the site how I want it to look (similar to google custom homepage, which I love).

    I also want to add custom feeds and have a lot of options to choose from.

    Did I mention let me customize it how i want?
    • When I sent in the story yesterday the BBC link worked.. here's a good discussion of the article (in comment form, sorry)... Here [stylegala.com]. I'm not sure why the site is down. Perhaps the BBC took it down, but that seems unlikely. I hope it's back up soon though! Quick breakdown: the BBC wants people to totally rework their website. The winner gets a "high end Apple laptop", the runners up get an "MP3 Player". They will put the winning design live on their homepage for one day, giving the winner a lot of free public
      • The tone of those comments are hilarious. For example, here's the begining of the first post.

        This is dispicable behaviour from the BBC. I don't think people are realising the issue here. They are undermining the cost of design. To redesign something as popular as the BBC page requires an intricate knowledge of SO many web design and usabilty fundamentals. Simply coaxing a designer with £2k worth of product and a blue peter badge is not my idea of reward. ...

        It reminds me of this thread [ezboard.com] a while back di

    • Couldn't agree more, although maybe not drag and drop, but a "Preferences" section like Slashdot where users can choose/drop what they like/dislike.

      But more importantly, there should be a few templates (for on the spot makeover) to cater normal users who can't be bother to customize the site. Eg an Entertainment-Template will have more news on entertainment-related news, and a bit of other news.

      While we are at it, I would like know would you rather redesign BBC, or redesign Slashdot CSS.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ""The BBC is asking people to redesign their homepage [CC] [MD], with the best design winning an Apple laptop. "

    Dammit Taco! Look what you started. :)
  • ...so it isn't cn blocked anymore.
    • Tor is a workaround. Though I think the block would be remapped to whatever other website BBC News gets set up on. In addition, BBC podcasts work fine as they're hosted at bbc.co.uk, not news.bbc.co.uk.
      • > In addition, BBC podcasts work fine as they're hosted at bbc.co.uk, not news.bbc.co.uk.

        As do all the radio stations (but don't tell anyone).
  • Portal (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Baricom (763970) on Friday April 28, 2006 @12:01AM (#15218529)
    The ideal news site for me would have the following four features:

    1. Unobtrusive advertising.
    1a. No "free registration" nag.
    2. Higher quality pictures and videos (in terms of size and resolution, not necessarily content).
    3. Open ended syndication - let your visitors set up your home page to show not only your news, but those of your competitors, if they choose to do so. Let them drag boxes around the page, and provide an API to get modules on your page. (RSS or Atom with support for headline images as enclosures would fit the bill nicely.)

    I currently get my news from three places: My Yahoo!, Netvibes (when I get comfortable enough about their privacy practices, it'll be my new home page), and Google News. The thing they have in common is the ability to do massive customization of their home page.
    • I currently get my news from three places: My Yahoo!, Netvibes (when I get comfortable enough about their privacy practices, it'll be my new home page), and Google News. The thing they have in common is the ability to do massive customization of their home page.
      You forgot Slashdot. :-)
    • You *want* advertising (unobtrusive, or otherwise)???? ..or do you mean that you want it to be free (cost) and don't mind that they get their revenue from advertising so long as it is unobtrusive?
  • What would I want? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grogdamighty (884570) on Friday April 28, 2006 @12:02AM (#15218532) Homepage
    "Should it contain local news? Traffic? Weather? What type of information would you want on the BBC's homepage (or CNN's if you're in America)?"

    I'm not a coder or in web design, so I can't tell you how to make a simple but elegant interface. I can tell you what should be readily apparent to anyone asked these questions: I want exactly what I want, when I want it. That's what I like about Google News - if I want sports news on top, that's where I put it; if I want a custom search for all new pharmaceuticals, I can do it. Major news websites should take note that people want to be able to decide what news they see.

    There's a reason why most people flip directly to a specific section of the newspaper. It's time the newspaper flipped for us.

    • There's a reason why most people flip directly to a specific section of the newspaper. It's time the newspaper flipped for us.
      Well, in Soviet Russia the newspaper... oh, wait...
  • A redirect to this [page3.com] would probably do it!
  • by XBL (305578) on Friday April 28, 2006 @12:09AM (#15218561)
    Porn! It would fit well into the BBC website main page. Please no British chicks...
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday April 28, 2006 @12:10AM (#15218564) Journal
    Stuff That Matters [slashdot.org]

    Duh
  • Man: How many of you kids would like Itchy & Scratchy to deal with
    real-life problems, like the ones you face every day?
    Kids: [clamoring] Oh, yeah! I would! Great idea! Yeah, that's it!
    Man: And who would like to see them do just the opposite -- getting
    into far-out situations involving robots a
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I still say that was the inspiration for Futurama!

      "So, you want a realistic, down-to-earth show... that's completely off-the-wall and swarming with magic robots?" -- Is that not Futurama?!
  • Less bloat (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iriefrank (41550) on Friday April 28, 2006 @12:30AM (#15218654) Homepage
    I load and reload news sites hundreds of times a day. Strip the bloat out, and let me do it quickly. The new NYT layout is fine as layout goes (though I still like the old site better) but all the Flash and proliferation of tables upon tables makes the site load at a crawl.

    In short: strip Flash out. Video in links only. Make it snappy.
  • I have noticed the BBC site is set to cover the full screen only when you are using the highly antiquated 800x600 (Famous for use on Flickery 15" CRTs). They could at least make a preference for resolution change, or go up to a 2006 Web Standard of 1024x768, since not many of us use 800x600 these days unless we are completely nuts, or are stuck with an ancient screen. And looking at there low graphics version of the site, I think they can just abolish that considering it looks like a PDA Site/Site Made for
    • Unfortunately, a lot of folks are still stuck on 800x600. I found some stats [thecounter.com] a month or two ago when I was reworking a website and wanted to know what was safe to target. According to that page, about 16% of people are still on 800x600 -- I have no idea how they gather the data or how accurate it is. For a website that is aimed at non-technical users, it's probably too early to ignore 800x600 usability.

      Simply stretching the article content area isn't necessarily that great either, IMHO, the relatively
      • by great throwdini (118430) on Friday April 28, 2006 @01:19AM (#15218834)
        For a website that is aimed at non-technical users, it's probably too early to ignore 800x600 usability.

        ...or those who are running at higher resolutions, but prefer not to full-screen browser sessions. Those types always seem to be overlooked when people start to throw about statistics of this sort.

        • Exactly, I run my screen at 1920x1440, and I have my browser windows absolutly no wider than 1024px.

          A maximum page width of 800px is perfect: if it was any wider the lines would run too long and become harder to read (newspapers have a lot of columns for a reason).
        • You know, something I like about Slashdot that you see on way too few websites these days: it looks great at near any resolution! When I'm on the road with my 12" iBook, Slashdot looks great at 1024x768. When I get home and hook the iBook up to my 1905FP, Slashdot scales up and looks great at 1280x1024. What's with the plethora of websites these days that only use a fixed number of pixels horizontally so anything more than that is wasted space?
  • I want news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Johnso (520335) on Friday April 28, 2006 @12:41AM (#15218690)
    I want news, not sensationalism. Drop the misleading headlines and transparent opinion pieces.

    I read the news to make my decisions, not to have them made for me.

  • Didn't I read about this yesterday [slashdot.org]? Oh, wait.. We're redesigning BBC this time!
    • You can get two free laptops if you find a website design that works for both /. and the bbc. Just don't let the other one know (shhhhh... it's a secret).
  • I want to get the "first psot"! :P
  • Save the text! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by spongebue (925835)
    When I go on CNN, it drives me nuts that the stories I really want to see are usually in video format only. Normally I cannot watch them, usually due to video player problems (in Linux or OS X). Not to mention that there is still a significant number of people on dial-up. Ideally, both video and text would be offered, even if text is verbatim of the video.

    Also, it would be cool if there was some kind of "stories you may like" feature made, that pulls together some keywords. So if you tend to read sto
    • I agree. I don't want quicktime installed. I don't want realplayer. Just give me the information in text, or the ability to select the video in different formats. windows media player is bad enough, I don't need three crappy players on my system.
    • I concur with your thoughts about the video. While I really like the idea of having video available, I would post no video stories without an accompanying transcript. The "stories you may like" feature sounds great, and would be practical in many ways....but then again, I'm not certain that I like CNN or FOX or BBC or ABC or anyone else "suggesting" stories to me anymore than they already do. That formula could become a vehicle for dark things.
  • Most if the time; (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ajehals (947354)
    I just want impartial unbiased honest factual relevant interesting up to date reporting to empower me to make my own decisions and take any relevant action I deem necessary....

    But occasionally I want opinionated sensationalist one sided reporting with a large dose of tongue in cheek humour and honest to god trolling (then I go to /. :) )

    Oh and when I want to know what's happening in United States of America and need a good laugh I check out FOX.
  • With the added feature of the article synopsis if you hover over the link - Yahoo sort of does this, but they dont give enough room for the article summary
    --
  • by baadger (764884)
    Do you think they'd notice if I submitted their old design [archive.org] as my own and claimed that laptop? xD

    By the time they realised I could be half way through the BootCamp installation to spyware town.
  • When I read news, I don't care that 300 people and 20 kids died. First of all, kids are people. Second, it doesn't get worse just because kids die. That's got nothing to do with the news, that's about creating a hype of sensation around it. OMG, think of the children! Who cares? They die just as fast or slow as other human beings, it needn't be stressed to get the point across.

    When I read news, I want to know what happened. Not what could have happened or what might have happened. When a police car rams a b
    • What I expect from a quality paper is the news, however it stand to reason that all papers will have a bias because they have to appeal to what the readers want to read. A quality broad-sheet paper should not say we (and probably you because you read this paper) think this about free trade, but some people think the opposite. When I pick up a copy of the telegraph - the paper I read - I don't want to know what the left might think of a policy, there are papers I can buy to find out if I want. There isn't
  • BBC 2.0!

    Coincidentally, I did this spoof over the weekend. Guess what was on TV all the time...
    BBC 2.0 [msn.com]

    Needs more rounded corners though...
  • Add a section with users comments. I hate those big mainstream media where only the opinion of the company matters.
  • From the post: "(or CNN's if you're in America)"

    Some of us in America would actually prefer news from the BBC. At least for world news coverage, the Beeb does a far better job than American news. Most of what I read in the US tends to be inane political posturing. If you're a leftie, read CNN. If you're a rightie, read Fox. If you have two working brain cells, you see that it's all crap.

    On topic: I'll echo what other posters said about customization. Let me have the (not required) option of creating an acco
    • >Some of us in America would actually prefer news from the BBC. ]
      >At least for world news coverage, the Beeb does a far better job
      >than American news.

      Before around 2001, I would have agreed with that. Then their presenters started worshipping the ground Bush walked on, and became a lot more sympathetic towards their own Prime Minister Wormtounge, as well.

      Back in the 70s and 80s, (and presumably earlier) the BBC might have had some degree of journalistic integrity. These days however, they're just l
  • What I would like, but I know I won't get, is, first, perfect separation between a news piece data from its interpretation, with the data receiving uniform representation.

    For example, instead of a biased news such as "Rep. X said blah, while the very, very conservative rep. Y said blah, showing he doesn't care for Z", the "data" part would simply say "In regards to Z, rep. X said blah, while rep. Y said blah", or, better yet, "In regards to Z, rep. X (x% liberal according to institute A's 2005 research in t
  • Just one thing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Phreakiture (547094) on Friday April 28, 2006 @09:21AM (#15220198) Homepage

    There is one thing I want more than anything else in a news site. If a news article is about a legislative action, then I want bill numbers, amendment numbers and a sidebar that shows me who voted how. That way, I can pick up the phone as soon as I have read the article, without spending two hours trawling through the house/senate web sites looking for the info, and call my elected representatives to either thank them or to tell them they are sons of bitches.

    Project Vote-smart is a good step in the right direction, but the database is indexed the wrong way and doesn't touch committees at all. Besides, it isn't a news site. I want it integrated into a news site. [vote-smart.org]

    That alone will probably get my undying loyalty.

    • Hey, agreed!

      It's great to see another person who phones his reps and senators about issues. I must spend 2 hours a week on the phone with various state and federal reps.

      Care to share any of your favorite news sites for politics?
  • Good news.
  • Since the BBC does music shows, if they give away a free Apple, then Apple Records will sue them on behalf of the Beatles, both living and dead!
  • Where the key words are: "news" and "matters"...
  • " What type of information would you want on the BBC's homepage (or CNN's if you're in America)?"

    Whenever I go to CNN's website, I can feel myself losing IQ points. And that's before I see the inevitable: "Woman dismembers own child: WATCH NOW!" which makes it sound like they have video of the act, but also is an example of their preference for sensational-but-relatively-unimportant stories like killings and missing white girls.

    (Actually, it looks like they finally got rid of that kind of headline, at last.

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