Wednesday, June 20, 2007

ABCNews.com: Turn and Face The Stra(nge)...Ch-Ch-Changes

OK...I may now be officially obsessed with the ABCNews.com homepage design. I've wondered ever since they made the change back on May 1 how, if at all, they'd respond to user feedback that was overwhelmingly negative. That alone doesn't mean that the design was bad, but there were some strange user interface design decisions made, which I covered in previous blogs.

Today the homepage creeped downward again 19 pixels, growing slightly taller as it did a few days ago. This time it was to accommodate a header for the odd scrolling area in the middle which doesn't even truly scroll. It's linear navigation which steps through stories when you click on the scroll arrows. In order to add the 19 pixels on the left, they had to extend the border out on the ad to the right. More ad space, once again.

Another small change was to the main headlines area at the top. They were 26 pixels tall for a single line of text and are now 22 pixels each. This buys them 9.5 stories in this box instead of 7 viewable at one time. One could say this goes against the design rationale posted on May 1 of "simple" design in a way, making the lines tighter. To me, this is again going back to what they used to have and what all the other good news website designs have. Lots of easy to scan content on the page. Adding 2 more stories on the home page is not accomplishing much.

The majority of ABCNews.com's stories on the homepage are now hidden in these tiny semi-scrolling boxes. In the main area of the page, there is a total of 48 stories, but only 18 are viewable at any time. 30 of these main stories are always hidden until you scroll within these little sub-sections. 30 of 48, always hidden. Simple? Easy to use?

I may have to start an entire blog dedicated to the ABCNews.com homepage very soon if this keeps up.

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