Here is something I have been meaning to do for a while – start examining how news is presented online in Canada – from newspaper sites to tv sites, to whose doing innovative things.
So it somehow seemed fitting to start with a true Canadian story that made the front pages (at least online) of two of the city daily papers . I am speaking of course of how the Toronto Star and The Vancouver Sun and the Mats Sundin story where he signed with Vancouver after a long courtship.
The point of this post of course is not to discuss the merits of the trade, nor which paper had more substantive editorial coverage. Rather, I am after something more basic. What if I was an average web user grazer who happened upon the respective home pages of the two papers – which one would hold me and make me want to stay? In affect which paper is doing a better job online – above the fold? Click on the image if the comment text is too small too read.
Again these are observations made by looking at above the fold. Most visitors give a website less than 30 seconds (if that).
The Vancouver Sun
In terms of elegance and cleanliness of presentation it wins hands down. The navigation is effortless but it seems a bit thin on content ( a tricky balance to be sure). What is a larger issue is the canada.com drop down menu, it is up high on the top left. So the first thing a user sees is a suggestion to go somewhere else, not sure about that. Then we have search. It would be interesting to see how much this feature is used. If it is used a lot that could be a sign the user can’t find what they want. If you are going to have search commit to it – have advanced search so the user can narrow their search context. The right hand zone is well laid out but has a call to action to subscribe to various offers. I get the need to do this but this space is very critical real estate. So the question that needs to be asked are people who are coming to this site looking for this feature? Up high beside the log in could be a good spot. This space could be ad, it could be editorial content .
The Toronto Star
The Star above the fold was good – four years ago. The navigation is clunky, no automatic drop down for sub navigation – although the page views must be through the roof. Plus, there is SO much navigation, I don’t know where to start. Clunky and Cluttered navigation aside what it does bring is an abundance of content, leaving the user to muddle through. One strong feature was multi-media above the fold. Having a video player up high enables higher revenue generating video ads and it increases Average Time Spent – an increasingly key metric.
The Vancouver Sun would win hands but for the lack of video or multi-media above the fold . Yes, I know there is a media player lower down but the first story was a Global National item on the Gondola accident in Whistler. The star by contrast had a strong take on the story of the day, a good multi-media item featuring columnist Damien Cox, video clips, and old photos of Sundin.
Be the first to like.