Within the actual site, the main sections are all
about the same length of the home page, and the color assigned
to it on the home page is carried over. For example, the Technology
section is assigned the color orange. On the technology page,
orange is on the headings and a lighter shade of orange is also
implemented. This gives each page a unified theme while setting
it apart from other topics. This layout may take more time for
slower modems to view, but part of that problem is resolved in
that the document itself is not that large.
Under each title of today's stories is a synopsis.
The condensed story, larger font and spacing lend itself to easy
skimming. The stories themselves are more concise than other news
sites', and are therefore not nearly as long. This is largely
because the story does not go into back ground information, because
breaking up the story are links to earlier stories as well as
latest news. These links get the nod because they are largely
introduced as audio or video.
The slide show has its merits as well as faults.
It shows you when it was last updated, including date and time
and uses color photos. It tells you how many slides there are,
but not how big each file is. It has forward and back buttons,
but that forces you to move in their order. The most out-of-order
you can move is from the last slide back to the first slide. In
addition, every click of the forward or backward button has the
sound effect of a shutter lens on a camera, which, if you're looking
at more than five pictures, gets irritating. There's a sentence
explaining the context of the picture, but no information from
the people in the picture or even the photographer.
Even though the stories are shorter and easier to
read through, USATODAY.com still puts the whole article on one
page, despite logical breaks for new pages. I have been disappointed
time and time again that chunking, the dissemination of small
pieces of information, is not pervading the online news world.
Overall, USATODAY.com is the best news site by far.
It combines easy navigation with visual effects to enhance the
resource and like most news sites the page refreshes at least
every hour. Though they are relatively new to the game compared
with other national papers, perhaps that is the very reason why
USA Today is more willing to try new arenas and different formats.