Saturday, December 4, 2010

The need for quality websites

By: Amber Genuske

To supplement my previous posts on shovelware (and why not to do it) and the importance of stellar multimedia, it is impossible to ignore the need for a great website for publications to implement these practices. The shift from print to online has many publications maintaining the print-purists ideas, often applying to their website with an exact replica of the front page of the newspaper as the homepage, or worse, the blog format with a running list of stories, like The Daily Texan.

Newspapers and magazines tote the circulation of the physical paper, ignoring that the largest readership is online, where anyone with access to the internet can look at their website. While the design of the printed publication should still be slaved over, it is what catches people's eye when they walk past a newsstand, the website has the potential to have an even greater impact.

Of course, there is the discussion of how to receive funding for a website and how to convert from a free to a pay wall system, but maybe people will be more inclined to pay for an attractive website with beautiful content than a blog roll.

The New York Times has the largest online readership and it's understandable with the website they have. Though still traditional as the Times will always be, there is a wealth of multimedia content on the front page, begging people to click and explore.

Clever and stylish design has always played an vital roll in magazines and there websites reflect that. New York Magazine and GQ's front pages are full of graphics, videos, photos and colorful links, while still maintaining the ever-important ease of navigation.

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