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SignOnSanDiego is instantly and obviously an online newspaper. It’s always nice to visit a site where the purpose and function of the site is instantly clear.
There is so much information on this page that it is hard to know where to look if you try to read it like website. If you take into account that it is a newspaper and treat it as such, though, it is perfectly readable and accessible.
My first issue though is that the banner ads at the top have flashing information, which is incredibly distracting. I understand the need for sites to have advertising, but this particular flashing is drawing me away from the intent of the site.
Below this initial navigation are newspaper stories. I feel as though there is a little too much information here, and the lead story is written in tiny tiny font. It’s not very readable and I would love for it to be a bit bigger or clearer.
Below the first few news stories are links to more, then we have content for some of the newspaper sections. We already have navigation for them at the top, though, so I would rather see those left out and have us go straight to the information that you cannot gain from the top navigation.
The footer is filled with categorized site links which helps with finding what you might be looking for within this site. At the bottom, the list of links to other useful information does contain necessary information, but the design is jumbled so it is hard to separate them out an determine what you might be looking for.
The right sidebar contains community type links and advertisements. The links and ads blend well together, which does make any important content a bit of a challenge to find. Perhaps it would do well to mark it in some way or have it stand out a little better.
Checking out the navigation, when you scroll over the navigation links you get pop up menus that give you more options to get deeper in to the site. These all work well except that they all go down from the menu except for the news tab, which has categories above and below that center line. This shows a lack of consistency and should probably be reconsidered.
For a site that contains so much information, this is generally laid out quite well. However, with a few tweaks the homepage could certainly be more streamlined and people could be encouraged to make use of the navigation. Singling out certain sections for an appearance on the homepage doesn’t make too much sense. It would be better not to duplicate content there.
Overall, this is a good newspaper site. It’s best to look at it as a newspaper and imaging that when users are experiencing it, that is what they are looking to read.
– Streamline the front page so that there is not repeated information. What is displayed on the front page should be original.
– Consider preventing flashing banner ads from being displayed, as they can distract the reader and prove to be annoying.
– Make sure all text used on the site is readable. Avoid tiny tiny fonts.
– Unjumble the links in the footer.
– Make the news expanded menu consistent with the other ones.
– Distinguish content from ads for easier readability.