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Website credibility and first impressions: GreenvilleOnline.com

(For this assignment, we were given a website address and had to answer some questions. Since this isn’t really a response to reading and just the result of a group project, the results are posted after the jump.)

dealchicken

First impression:

Dealchicken ad at the top in a brighter color than the logo expands to fill the entire page. Annoying immediately! Orange and blue are contrasting, pops too much.

  • There are a lot of pictures to show different articles
  • Jam-packed header with all the sections you’d want from a local newspaper.
  • Well organized
  • Good headers
  • Contents list at the bottom
  • Hover over topics, gives you the latest news along with other selections
  • The “subscribe” link in yellow at the top of the page nicely contrasts with the blue background.

 

How does the site establish credibility? How does the author establish trust? Or does it?

  • Search function is good. I searched for “crime reports” and found relevant stories quickly.
  • 7 day free trial, but then you must pay. At least you can see what you’re buying before you buy it, but it seems like it’s nothing I couldn’t get for free on TV or Google News.
  • Heavy use of photos is distracting on the homepage, not enough text.
  • Well-written articles
  • Organizations name is in the URL, increases credibility

What is the general writing style?

Headlines are unbiased, however some are a little sensationalized (i.e. Mom has sex while children died in car)

Does the writer IDENTIFY with his or her readers, or not? How (or why not)?

It depends on what the topic is, when the article is aimed at administering information, the author keeps the article short rather than by focusing on identifying with his reader. In opinions, they do identify with their reader.

Does the writing get to the point?

Yes, straightforward, short articles; headlines are very specific and very relevant.

How is it arranged? Is it arranged in reverse pyramid style?

article_layout

Most important stuff at the top, less important stuff is at the bottom. It definitely follows reverse pyramid style.

Is the content shaped for scanning? How is the content layered?

  • Paragraphs are short (good for scanning) not everything is on one page, no bolded texts
  • Headlines are clear
  • Very few teasers and lead-ins
  • No summary paragraphs
  • Photos and graphics
  • Audio and video clips
  • “You may be interested in”… but aren’t tightly related

Is the tone or rhythm of the site consistent throughout?

Writers from different regions and papers are included, so the tone generally depends on the content of the article. Opinion pieces are different than articles from the AP or staff writers, etc.

How does the site use headlines?

The headlines are mostly teasers for the article, but they get your attention and tell you the what of the 5 W’s pretty effectively.

How does the site use links? Effectively or not?

Many of the links on the website are paid advertisements or link to affiliate sites outside of the site. This doesn’t impact my ability to browse, but the paywall link permanently fixed to the bottom-left corner of the site is pretty annoying.

Go away.
Go away.

I know that paywalls wouldn’t exist if they didn’t work, but I can always go elsewhere and get free news.

How is multimedia used? Is it distracting? How is it displayed on the site? Does the multimedia tell the same story as the text, or a different side of the story?

Videos and photos to accompany articles, some moving advertisements are distracting, but are not intermingled with text. Multimedia is not super relevant but is still relatively on topic. Some multimedia presents interview versus article with summary.

How does the site “package” stories?

Often multimedia is placed before the actual text. Top down: headline, image or video, text, additional info or links, sidebar with other stories.

How are graphics used?

There are icons for emailing, printing, increasing and decreasing text size, graphics in images and videos, icons for affiliates.

Too cluttered?

No, ads are out of the way and do not interfere with the article.

Are the graphics consistent throughout the site, and consistent to the brand?

The color scheme is always held, highlighting is consistent, blue is easy on the eyes and readable.

Do they encourage or discourage use, and how?

They aren’t super encouraging but the videos are encouraging because there is a large play button over the still image.

You know you want to press play.
You know you want to press play.

 

Can each page stand on its own?

Every page can stand on its own because the site is well organized and the logo is always displayed in the top left corner, and the header is always along the top.

How is the navigation? Do you get lost? So you always know where you are? How (or why not)?

The navigation is great! The header is always present. You cant get lost because of the header. You can press the back button.

How does the site incorporate/interact with its audience?

Being local news, the content is very relevant to users, and the site does a modest job to encourage reader participation. Comment links are standard on all articles, the emails of the writers are easy to find, there are a number of links encouraging readers to click on. Comments are not displayed though, and the comments are linked through Facebook, rather than displayed under each article.

How does it embody the social aspect of the internet (or does it)?

social_media

It is linked to Facebook, and you can like the Greenville News on Facebook. Each individual article can be “shared” on Facebook. You can follow them on twitter also. Have the “widgets” at the bottom.

How would you improve the site?

Put ads in more discrete places, make them flow more, have sources linked throughout articles, show comments below articles.

How would you rate the USABILITY of the site? Elaborate.

It is easy to use and the graphics are good. I never felt lost on the site, as the main header was always a link back home, or anywhere else for that matter. The search function works, and the videos and photos are engaging. The paywall is annoying, and some of the advertising either pops out too much or blends in too well to the page. Overall, I give this website 4.5 navigational compasses out of of 5 in terms of usability.

rating

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