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The Design Center / Web Design & Review / Web Critiques / Northwest Indiana Catholic newspaper  

Reviewer Bennie C. Taylor visits the "Northwest Indiana Catholic newspaper" web site and files this review:

Newspaper Site needs organization

At first glance this site seems to be well-organized with some navigation links up top alongside the banner and arranged in categories. But the categories turn out to be inconsistent and confusing. I did not know what to expect when I clicked on a link, and sometimes I was surprised at the information that appeared.

It is very difficult to organize a site that has so many categories of information. What seem to be logical headings to one person might be confusing to another. I think this is a matter that should be based on visitor recommendations. Get some input about material your visitors would like to read and under what heading they would expect to find it.

Organization and Logic

One suggestion: The menu which runs across the page would not be needed (or at least the number of items could be reduced) if you arranged the top right navigation links logically.

There are far too many links in the second menu; they do not tell us precisely what to expect upon clicking, and they make the page much too wide - maybe some could be integrated into the top menu. See: http://www.mcwebdesign.us/nwi.jpg

Alternate suggestion: put attention grabbers in the top links section (upper right next to the banner), then add a drop-down menu for the navigation links which extend across the page. Set up only a few very definite categories such as current news, announcements, regular features, special features, etc. and place subtopics in the dropdown subsections. See: http://www.mcwebdesign.us/nwialt.jpg

I suppose the advertising is necessary. Could you place it at the bottom of the page and make it very neat the way the Google advertisements look? Maybe it would be better to include only paid ads under this category to cut down on things that detract from your main content.

Nicely Done:

Things perhaps best avoided:

If you make changes, keep in mind the rules used by your city newspaper: breaking news goes in the headline at the start of the front page's content; other less immediate items follow below the fold and on inside pages. You can usually find news, sports, features, editorials, and classified ads in roughly the same location in each issue. Since you want your visitors to return frequently, offer something new as often as possible, but keep your format consistent from issue to issue.

Review by Bennie C. Taylor


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