For this assignment, I wanted to choose a website that would I use regularly but also reflects the design concepts that were discussed in the lecture. I browsed between my usual news sources feeling disappointed that a majority of these utilized techniques that were discouraged by one or more of the lecture materials. Many sources such as CNN and BuzzFeed seemed busy, not reader friendly and unappealing to an objective eye. However, one source stood out among similar platforms and that was The Wall Street Journal.
User Focused Presentation
When consulting multiple news sources, I found that at first glance I would get lost in headlines. I found myself scrolling past multiple headlines without reading a single one, in search of one that stood out. However, on the Wall Street Journal website, large stories were highlighted so only the top 4 news headlines would catch my attention. These were further highlighted by images and bolded headlines that drew my eye in. It is impossible for me to read every article headline at first glance and The Wall Street Journal’s website design understands this and draws the eye to what is important (the top four headlines). The website is incredibly user friendly.
To help the reader find what articles they are interested in, the site presents general information and gives the reader the choice to further investigate that specific article. It does this in two ways. Firstly, the article is introduced with one headline in large, bold text. Once the general headline catches the reader, they can choose to read a more detailed summary of one or two sentences that further explains the news headline before selecting the actual news article if they are interested. Additionally, the site will pull one story aside, the headline written in larger text and photo, juxtaposed to the other side of the page, making it stand out to the scanning eye. This is a reader focused design because it hooks the reader in and allows the reader to follow the content easily. The website also has a menu bar at the top that distinguishes different categories of news a reader is interested in and can select which makes the website user friendly and easy to navigate.
The Use of White Space and Design Elements
The Wall Street Journal is immediately more attractive to the eye and aesthetic. The first thing I noticed about The Wall Street Journal’s webpage was its use of white space. As told by John McWade, the use of white space in graphics provides a degree of clarity. The entire background of the website is a crisp white. To the viewer, this allows for the text and photos to be more pronounced and stand out. This is more appealing to the eye because it distinguishes the article’s highlights versus allowing them to blend into the background. Many other news sources that I viewed looked busy or like there were too many colors that not a single one stood out. The white backdrop allows for article highlights to gain more attention from the reader.
The website also utilizes text creatively. Almost every word is written in black text on a white background, making the text stand out. In addition, the website uses text boldly. The largest text on the page is at the top, in all capital letters and reads “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL” in a regal, reputable font. Below, the headlines are written in the same font but smaller, varying in size depending on the ‘importance’ of the news article. By making some words stand out and others fall into the background more, the design pulls the reader’s attention to the important elements of the webpage.
The Wall Street Journal Website appeals to people who appreciate simplicity and easy to follow headlines. By designing their website in a particular way, The Wall Street Journal is setting itself apart from its competitors and other news sources as a user friendly and aesthetically pleasing source.