If newspaper Web sites aren't like blogs, at least they're not like Fox News

I’ve been pretty tough on newspapers’ Web sites for the last week or so. But newspapers actually do a pretty good job compared to the typical television broadcaster. A little later, I plan to write about why publishers are so much better equipped than broadcasters for the Web.
For now, let me say that Fox News just redesigned their site, and the result is godawful.
Supposedly, it’s designed to be “high bandwidth”, but all I know is that it performs like a pig on my DSL line. And by “pig,” I don’t mean Babe. I mean a big, fat sack of lard.
To be fair, Fox News Channel isn’t exactly the most elegant stop on the TV dial, either.
But…oh, the humanity!
With its pseudowindows swimming in a blue background; its pop-up menus that don’t work on a Mac; its jumble of news with ads with promos that make it impossible to tell who paid whom for what; the “Fox Connect” window where the ad cannot be separated from the content; its obviously ghost-written “blogs”; a creepy above-the-fold file photo illustration of the Supreme Court looming like an evil presence; its spammy text ads for viagra, diets, and offers to “crush old age”; and its bright-yellow bigger-than-Fox’s-logo terror Alert Status, the Fox News Web site looks like a porn site without the tits.

16 thoughts on “If newspaper Web sites aren't like blogs, at least they're not like Fox News

  1. lol! excuse me while I barf. by then those horrid flash menus on the far right might have finished displaying their content. Surely this is one of the greatest textbook examples of how not to design a news (or any kind of) site – they’ve made every conceivable mistake, and then some!

  2. I used to surf a lot of media websites looking for contact info; I found that overall, TV and radio websites were the worst. Many clearly hadn’t been updated in months or even years, and often had inactive e-mail addies and phone numbers redirected as fax lines. This is not to mention inactive links, and the locally-used templates provided by the main office, which often promoted programs that didn’t appear locally.
    Oh, don’t get me going! ;>)
    I put it down to the arrogance of the Big3 media. Maybe they’re still trying to convince themselves the Internet is a fad that will go away soon.

  3. Great review.
    But are we sure it’s not just a clever joke? A witty form of standards advocacy? An intentionally gruesome flashback to the 1997 style of web design, hiding an ingeniously made case for the importance of web standards…?
    It must be, it must…

  4. I have never been a fan of the Fox news site. Maybe I am just used to the CNN site. It seems to convey more information and news without having to scroll.

  5. If they truely wanted to be accurate about their network, they should rename themselves from “FoxNews” to “FauxNews.”
    Well, they use the ugly contrast of red/blue, and I guess the analogy is to cover both Republican/Democratic sides of the issue. Still ugly though.
    I’m curious as to what people think of the Washington Post’s site and the LA Times’s site.

  6. You wish you could be #1. FOX RULES!!! MSNBC & CNN together could not catch us in the ratings. Those of you who watch those ancient news channels are just outright lying to yourselves and will forever be stuck in the 80’s. Catch the fox if you can!!! As for that little man Barry Parr those who can not design write crap.

  7. “I’m curious as to what people think of the Washington Post’s site and the LA Times’s site.”
    I think most newspaper sites are pretty poorly designed and badly in need of an update. They feel like broadsheets mocked up in HTML. Having said that, they are generally better than the typical TV news web site.

  8. Fox News has always had a site that has been terrible to navigate or find specific news articles.
    As for newspaper sites I totally agree with you. This can be traced back to the fact that there are very few newspapers that design to HTML Specs whether its HTML 4.01 or XHTML. Go look at most newspaper site and you would be lucky to find a DOCTYPE. As more and more developers for newspapers get turned on to standards you may start seeing better designs.

  9. I don’t agree that adoption of stadards will necessarily result in better designs. In my experience, the problem is the design process, which has to serve too many masters.
    The other problem is that designers are trying to manifest everything a newspaper does in its navigation bar, rather than think about what visitors to its site might want. It’s a very inside-out view of a site.
    There is so much design innovation on the Web right now, but innovation among online newspapers consists of making the product look more like print, not less.

  10. Guess I should have been clearer with the statement about “better designs”, I was leaning more towards the look and feel of the UI. I know as I started getting more and more into standards my designs stared to become increasingly cleaner and better looking.
    And I totally agree that newspaper try to place way to many links/navigation on their pages. We recently redesigned our newspaper(chieftain.com) and one of our main concerns was keeping the design simple and easy to use, and based off of reader feed back we must have done a good job.
    I think there needs to be a connection to the print product, but not so much that it hinders what you do online. Our Online product mimics our print product in a few ways but mostly just to create a link between two products.

  11. If newspaper Web sites aren’t like blogs, at least they’re not like Fox News
    Media Savvy has this excellent post:MediaSavvy: If newspaper Web sites aren’t like blogs, at least they’re not like Fox News I couldn’t agree more. The Fox redesign is horrible. Who ever did that design should not take credit for it….

  12. guardian.co.uk has the best newspaper site I’ve seen. news.bbc.co.uk is the best news channel site.
    Left wingers have better site design. Right wingers have flashier, gaudier site design.

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