Published on
April 18, 2002

AnaLine
Analysis of Online Media


USA
TODAY


View:

Home Page

The Wall Street
Journal ONLINE

USA Today

The New York Times
on The Web

 


It is very clear how USA Today has reached the number two spot in the nation in such a short span of time. Everything is taken seriously, while making it look attractive and entertaining. By far, USATODAY.com has the best website of the top three newspapers in the Nation.

It is the only company, of those reviewed that offers a search engine. USA Today has Lycos search capabilities. This is valuable for people who set their homepage to USA Today as opposed to AOL or Yahoo!. This way, not only can a viewer get any kind of news information when they go Online, but they can also do a search from that page, rather than logging in somewhere else.

The home page is much shorter than the other home pages, distancing itself from the feel of a printed-paper, while retaining pertinent information, such as top news stories, other subject areas, and linked pictures. The splash of color at the top and on the section headings carries over the look and feel of the actual paper, grabbing the reader's attention. However, the colored bars (encasing News, Sports, etc.) are not active. The actual words must be clicked, which is a slight hindrance, since for most people the instinct is to click on any part of the desired object. Besides that, the bars are a space saver and eye-catching. While the color is continued throughout the page, it is limited. The advantages to this are faster download time while maintaining an attractive site. Too much color can be garish and often hard to look at, but used in the correct proportions, color may not only bring in more viewers, but also keep more viewers.

Another consideration made for those with a slower modem transfer rates was the design in the logo. The USA Today logo, seen above, was done with a layering technique to make it load faster than a scanned in, block image.

USATODAY.com has selected some specific quick reference titles (scores, travel, and markets to name a few) as shortcuts through the main sections. Again, this is the only publication to offer this feature.