Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tweaks for theorion.com home page

It was so nice to open The Orion webpage this morning and NOT see half of Wednesday's newspaper dumped onto the site. The editors deserve a truckload of credit for getting out of the habit of shoveling the newspaper's content onto the site once a week.

I'd like to suggest a few small changes to the page that would result in a better user experience:

• As long as there's a new photo and story available, the previous day's photos (in this case, rugby and basketball) should be taken off the page. It's OK to have just one story in the rotator; that position doesn't have to rotate. Your goal should be to make the equivalent of a new front page every day.
• Instead of "Recent Headlines" over the latest news stories, try "Today's Headlines." As a visitor, I want to know what's happening now, not what happened recently.
• Follow AP style on the words today, tomorrow and yesterday (which is to use the name of the day instead: Tuesday, Friday, etc.) to avoid confusion. The first tweet on today's (Tuesday's) home page talks about a press conference tomorrow at 2 p.m., but the presser is actually today. Using "Tuesday" would have avoided the problem.
• I know some people love the spinning-medal, scrolling-globe red background projected behind the webcast anchor, but I do not. Anything that takes the focus off the presenter should be doing the distracting on purpose (like superimposing a mug over the anchor's shoulder does). Lose the background, please!
• Be conscious of the difference in subject size when you're shooting anchors and reporters. Allison's head, for example, should be about the same size as Lacey's head when you change shots.
• Unfortunately, the "related videos" that display after the webcast is finished aren't related to anything at The Orion, so it would be a good idea to edit a little of the embed code when the video is added to the website. Here's how:
When you get the embed code via the video's "Embed" button on the Watch; uncheck the box that says:
[x] Include related videos.
That will remove the "related videos".
To do so manually, you need to add the parameter:
to BOTH instances of the parameter strings in the embed code. (Thanks to "Klementine" in Google Groups for this tip).

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