Changing times

Posted by Jon on 25 April 2014 | Comments

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Websites are dynamic entities. News websites in particular have to respond to changing events. In today’s blog we take a closer look at how their design shifts when major events take place.

As we saw previously news websites tend to be high impact, balanced websites which sit in the middle between being informative and simple. We’ve analysed a number of news websites before and after big news stories broke. The impact assessed for all the websites we reviewed increased with big stories, much as might be expected. This was even the case for websites which already scored very highly on the impact scale, though the increase was smaller. In addition, substantial changes were observable in both flow and simplicity. Most websites reduced the flow and simplicity of the site with the big story; presenting the user with a lot of information and background. This wasn’t always the case however with some websites actually increasing the flow and simplifying the site, presenting just the key story and moving other stories off the main viewing area.

Several sites showed a marked increase in impact in the region below the website menus and to the left, which has become something of a key anchor point in website design. The two images below highlight this by illustrating the areas of the sites which increased in impact after major stories broke.

Changes to hotspots on a news website after a major story broke
Map of areas of impact increase post event (first site)

Changes to hotspots on a second news website after a major story broke
Map of areas of impact increase post event (second site)


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