Digital, Newspapers, Notebook

The Sun isn’t shining

Notebook: 26 November 2015 | NEWSPAPERS | DIGITAL

Five weeks ago I reviewed the design of all the national newspaper websites (see link here). I’m back to take a quick look at The Sun which, in order to boost its readership, has now completely removed its paywall and is free to use (like all other newspaper websites apart from The Times). I’m glad to see that they now have a menu bar in place, but between now and early October when I last visited the site, they’ve tinkered with what was a surprisingly good looking design and the result, for me, is a disappointment. There are four issues that jump out at me:

The letter spacing on all the headlines is too gappy (see above). You can just about get away with it on the smaller headlines because it becomes less evident, but on the large headlines, the letters look as though they’re drifting apart. It’s a quick fix – just track them a bit tighter – and this will increase the character count at the same time and will make it easier for the sub to write a headline that will fit.

Re-instate the well crafted ‘Opinion’ panels with their striking black and white pictures and delicate typography. They help to liven up the page and make it look fresh and modern. Here’s how the Tony Parsons panel appeared on the site back in October:

News websites 2

Half way down the home page there is a Today’s Top Videos panel. For some reason it’s all set in a different font to the rest of the site. Most readers will never realise this but on a subliminal level, this odd font causes a ‘jarring’ and makes the site look untidy.

The Sun‘s picture editors need to keep a careful eye on their choice of pics (see picture top). On this particular day, the pictures were grim and a bit of a turn-off. You can get away with the odd dull, badly lit and badly cropped picture but a cluster of them together becomes an unpleasant experience.

So four design issues, but they’re all a quick fix – get these sorted and The Sun might shine again.