This is an example of a poorly designed news website. I found that its main weakness was that the index was at the top of the page, which made the site a little top-heavy. Harrower’s web design guidelines include the use of “modules” to organize a page. This includes breaking the content with interesting colors, headings and styles. I thought the “What’s happening this week” module was redundant, because it contained many of the same stories as the “Top News” module. Additionally, the headlines were all the same color and size, as were the photos that accompanied them. This made the page uninteresting and it was unclear where the most important story was. Instead of incorporating multimedia into the main coverage, this site placed a video at the very bottom of the homepage, which would not likely attract much traffic. I think it would have shown more creativity to place the video story higher on the page. One guideline that this site did follow was the index, story, ads chart on page 261. The site effectively gave each section appropriate proportions and prominence on the page.
Infographics should be used in a publication when traditional photos are not available to supplement a story in order to convey information in a visually exciting and engaging manner.
-use when there are five or more statistics, that could be more easily understood in a graph
-make sure the statistics speak for themselves: there is no “body story” to go along with the straight percentages/facts, or the information can be interpreted in more than one way (don’t pigeonhole the facts)
– use to make use of recognizable cultural symbols including corporate logos, sports symbols or country flags
-include a graphic when there is opportunity to use creative typography and color choices that would be out of place on a normal page
– notice if the information indicates a trend that could be clearly demonstrated through the use of a graphic
– basic, primary colors
– make sure your graphic is easy to read and understand, this includes making sure the colors correspond and are easy to follow
– organize information by shape, color and location
-Use infographics excessively, the reader will be distracted
-accompany with a daily news story, save infographics for features and special sections (indicate need for analysis)
– make graphics too confusing (too many colors, shapes, facts)
-use unless there is ample space in the publication
– stretch the reader’s ability to understand by fragmenting information; the design elements must create a fluid image where the statistics make sense
I liked this infographic from Time Magazine’s economy pages. What I admire most about this graphic is the use of color and design. The different branches vary in size, which corresponds with the percentages at the bottom of each graphic. The information is presented in a bold and interesting way that is easy to understand and uses the gestalt principle of continuation to move the eye through the information by organizing it by color heading and level. I hope to use similar elements to create my final infographic.
I found a photo spread accompanying a story on Margret Thatcher in Vanity Fair magazine. This was a very extensive and long form article, and the double spread was covered in 11 photos of Thatcher, with a blue box of captions. I thought the spread was somewhat uncreative, because the photos were all basically the same size, and the captions box looked unsophisticated and made the page difficult to follow. Although it’s important to consider the seriousness of the magazine and article, I think Vanity Fair could have included some more variety in this spread.
One thing I did like was the balance of color. The spread used a few key black and white photos, which balanced on the opposite page where she was wearing a few black and white outfits. This is a subtle continuity, but I admired the diversity of color and black and white photos. After the spread, the next page features a full-page photo of Thatcher with a large pull quote using creative text. I liked this design a lot better, but was disappointed to see the same chunky blue caption box in the bottom corner.
I chose these two photos from the Pulitzer Prize winning collection documenting the 2011 earthquake in Haiti. I think they both present important sides of the newsworthiness of the event. While the above photo shows the devastation by capturing youths in action in the destroyed city, the photo below shows the aid effort extended to victims. Both sides are important to include in the media because they capture moments in a time of crisis with focus that gives news readers a wide range of emotion and understanding. I looked through other photos in this collection and some showed the close up faces of victims, which were very emotionally powerful. However, I think these two photos focus on the news element of reporting– providing context while still evoking a human response.
I though this was a great example of an Oscars page. The diverse use of photographs, using a line of mug shots at the top with cutlines telling who won prominent awards, paired with the large aerial view of the stage in the center gave a unique array of visual elements. Additionally, the lines on the stage in the photograph illustrate the Gestalt principle of similarity, which makes it even more interesting at first glance. The use of a drop cap in the main Oscars story shows the story’s prominence, however, the Daily News uses bold headlines and pull quotes in the bottom two stories to make them stand out and therefore they do not get lost on the page. I also liked the use of coloring on this page, specifically the color red. The template of the Daily News in red matches the actress’ dress further down the page. This effectively draws the eye down the page and ensures readers don’t get caught up in the largeness and prominence of the center photo. The center photo is mostly cool colored, which further emphasizes the red. The headline “Silent Night” draws on the abnormality of a silent film winning best picture, and draws attention to a unique element of the story. The capitalized headline paired with the mugshot photos at the top of the page creates balance and unity, overall a great page.