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All this thinking has gone to our heads
Sun 25th Nov '07 5:29PM
366 Posts
Jog_Eerie's Avatar
Member Since
15th Apr '03
Through a series of fantastic coincidences and bloggery, I've been asked to be on a small team that is developing a new website for my paper!

I'm chuffed, obviously, but as we've got a tight deadline to this I'm having to learn a lot about what people want from a news website... and fast!

I wrote a post about it on my blog calling for ideas.

I was wondering if any of you fine fellows (and fellow-esses) might be able to help as well?

optical moose
Sun 25th Nov '07 5:33PM
2522 Posts
Diziet's Avatar
Member Since
20th Jul '05
news (obviously)
a comments section although a forum would be preferable to me
rss feed

Windows Bob - the best!
Sun 25th Nov '07 10:25PM
4213 Posts
General's Avatar
Member Since
7th Apr '03
Is it general, Brum news or specialized?

I must say I read all of my news via RSS reader and it would be very nice to have the choice between an RSS feed that has headline and synopsis and one that features the full article text which not many sites do.

I really love it when you get very richly linked articles. On Boing Boing when they have a story on a theme they have discussed in the past they stick a list of previous related links at the bottom of the page.

Tagging is really important and it really helps to have a good search feature.

The thing that BBCi do really well is when they have a big story that is regularly featured they will do an in depth analysis for example "The Israel Palestine conflict what's that all about?" or "Why should you care about interest rates?"

Also I like the regular round up of articles you might have missed that they have on life hacker.

If I get one of those flash adds that covers up the text on screen and i can't make it go away in two seconds I will not read the article and may never read the site again.

All this thinking has gone to our heads
Sun 25th Nov '07 11:02PM
366 Posts
Jog_Eerie's Avatar
Member Since
15th Apr '03
Thanks guys!

It will be West Midlands news, primarily, with a strong business flavour.

We will, of course, cover important national stories as well, but that isn't our USP.

I lost my toes in a game of blackjack
Mon 26th Nov '07 11:40AM
505 Posts
Mrsham's Avatar
Member Since
5th Jan '07
In general simpler is better for me. The Beeb site works for me because it's unfussy, logical, and I can always get to where I want to be in a couple of clicks. Also the search function works well and I can find old stories easily which has occasionally been very useful at work -- a decent archiving / search system could be very important for business news in particular. I agree with General that related links on stories are a really good idea and something I'll always use when looking at news online if they're there.

I'd suggest if you're on a tight deadline (if this is possible) that you focus on the core text / pics content, a smart but non-spangly layout, a decent archive/search facility, an rss feed, good related links system and some clear way of providing feedback, possibly via some sort of forum (so not much then ). Once that starts pulling people in, you may have the option of getting feedback from your readership as to what they'd value in terms of extra content and functionality.

I only value the stuff I've mentioned above in a news site though as I'm generally not on them long enough to delve any deeper -- so I may not be representative of the main type of person you're interested in.

PS Congratulations on landing this project by the way!

EDIT: If you have the budget for it, some formal market research might be useful to get a clearer picture of what people want (but I would say that )

Giggity Giggity goo
Fri 30th Nov '07 12:41PM
2708 Posts
Amanshu's Avatar
Member Since
25th Aug '04
I've got to say I pretty much agree with the others here, a simple easy to use site which I can duck in and duck out of will always win over a site loaded down with flash gumf and shiny graphics.

As a general rule on webpages you've got about five seconds to make the user feel like they're making progress. They've arrived for some reason and don't care about anything really other than finding that information. The prevalence of things like google means that if they don't get somewhere fast then they'll just go away and look for the next site.

In terms of a news website, regular updating it is key - the turnover of content makes a huge difference. Showing that things have changed is really what you're after so stuff like an rss feed helps (a few clicks to check whether it's worth visiting the site makes a huge difference and I'll keep coming back to it).

That being said, if I have found a good article that I want to go back to I want to be able to find it quickly and easily so a good search tool is a must.

Finally if I'm just ducking in and out then I don't want to have to wait five minutes for each page to load. Keeping it smart, simple and minimising the graphics is the key thing here!

But congrats anyway! I look forward to seeing how it goes!

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