Website analysis

A Website Analysis of The Times Online.

The Times Online Logo

“If users get lost on a website they leave.” (Nielsen 1995)

Times Online is the current website of The Times and The Sunday Times newspapers. Founded in 1996, Times Online has become one of the most viewed newspaper websites in the UK and internationally with “ 21.4 million monthly unique users.” (Sweney 2010) Website usability studies indicate, “that slightly more than half of all users are search-dominant.” (Nielsen 2000)

In terms of searchability the Times Online is easy to locate through a range of popular search engines. A simple search box entry of the word ‘times’ in Google, Lycos, AltaVista, Bing and HotBot resulted in a number one position for Times Online on the results page. Once an initial search is implemented Times Online provides a range of filtering options to refine results. Users have the option to search in relation to relevance and precise dates within both print and online publications, which reinforces the quality of the search results.“Usability is defined as the degree to which people (users) can perform a set of required tasks.” (Brinck et al 2002)  Times Online is functionally stable within the Macintosh platform, viewing the site in both Safari and Firefox web browsers resulted in very efficient loading times.

The construct of Times Online as a complex news website intensifies the “need to give the user explicit cues to the context and organisation of information” (Lynch and Horton 2001) as part of the user experience. These cues are offered through the Times Online’s horizontal navigation system, which is highly effective in answering the three key questions of navigation. Where am I? Where have I been? Where can I go? (Nielsen 2000) The Times Online strikes an effective balance between visual organization and content organization through good page layout. On a visual level the homepage reflects the role of Times Online as a newspaper website. The Times Online has a diverse variety of stories that range from ‘world news’, ‘business’ and ‘politics’ through to ‘tech & web’.

All in all Times Online is a fluid and comprehensive site that offers a user experience which retains the beneficial qualities of The Times and the Sunday Times.The bright green colour in the logo actually works extremely well when placed in the context of navigation.  The simplification and reduction of vertical alignment offers a clean and spacious appearance that is synonymous with quality journalism.

Web Design Expert Jakob Nielsen

Click here to read my full analysis


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