Designs of sites meant to be read

Ben Brooks takes an interesting look at some of the most popular sites for tech news hounds and how much of their Web site is dedicated to the reader and how much is useless junk.

  • Good breakdowns.

  • Mark

    I wish that Ben had bothered to include “usability” somewhere in his reviews… while perhaps his site is nice to read, it’s completely horrible to navigate. I’m all for nice simple websites as much as I am for good user navigation design.

  • adrianoconnor

    This is such a poor article. You can’t really compare sites like DF, The Loop and CuriousRat to sites like The Verge; the comparison makes no sense. If The Verge was simply about one guy linking to interesting things on the web with a snarky/informative comment, then yeah, they could happily go to a DF/Loop-like design, but right now it simply wouldn’t work for them.

    A better comparison might be ad-supported sites with equivalent paid-for sites — NY Times vs. HuffPo, for example.

    Also, I’m not sure that secondary content is as bad as Ben makes out. I mean, he’s using a Windows 8 review article as an example. First of all, it’s huge, so the breaks make useful bookmarks for people who are reading piecemeal. Also, this is an OS review. You want images, because those are the most interesting bits. Certainly that’s how I used to feel when I used to pick up Amiga Format or Computer Shopper back in the day (I haven’t read computer magazines for quite a while). Yeah I read the words, but the pictures were what fascinated me.

    I like TBR, it’s a good site and I like seeing it pop up in Reeder with new unread articles, but this is poor. It’s effectively just Ben kissing the asses of the light-weight Mac commenters, while snarkily berating the big-media outlets who employ the writers that generate much of the content these light-weights link to each day.

    Don’t get me wrong; I really do wish the internet were more readable, just like DF. It’d suit me down to the ground (and it’s why I use Pocket, Evernote Clearly and the such like), but I just don’t see how that could work for big sites. Too few people would pay. NY Times are doing it, sure, but they’re something of an edge-case. Maybe one day we will all pay for content and the stupid ads and teasers can go, but I doubt it — we pay for magazines and they still have ads.

    Anyway, it’s always interesting to hear opinions, especially on design, but I disagree with this one.