Field Notes – Websites

The first thing that drew me to The Dallas Morning News and ultimately picking it as a choice for this assignment was the nameplate on the website. I love the combination of the sans serif and serif typefaces together. It is a sleeker design than the paper’s nameplate. The website does, however, also use the paper’s nameplate as part of the web nameplate. I think it’s best that they do this so the brand is kept consistent for readers.

The website is pretty organized for content. There is a main article featured in the middle on the home screen. There is another smaller story featured under this.

All other stories are listed under categories on the website. Each of these categories has a main article with an image and then a few additional articles under that.

The second-tier pages follow this same organization method.

The typography is basic web-fonts. They use a sans serif typeface throughout the entire website.

The website doesn’t use a lot of color in its design. Most of the color comes from images and ads. I think this works for the website because too many colors can be jarring on a computer screen. Also, it’s hard to compete with flashy ads on the side of the screen. I think it’s best to use minimal color in the design.

The main color the DMN uses is blue. Their nameplate mixes a light and a darker blue. Then there is an even darker blue used for the navigation. They accent the blue with shades of grey. They blue and grey really works online, because it’s appealing for readers and doesn’t make you shy away from the design. The blue is also used as a hyperlink for the stories.

I think the navigation bar works really well for the website. It is organized well and matches the same category names used throughout the site.

The website is using a 6-column grid, and it’s easy to tell by the way information is organized and presented. They use a 1-column rail on the left to organize navigation. The middle three columns are for stories and headlines. The last two columns are ad space mixed with additional links for readers. For story pages, they use four columns for the story and then the two additional columns on the right for ads and additional links.

The website uses a variety of sized that span anywhere from one to four columns. The four-column photos are used on the story pages. The other three sizes are use on the homepage and the second-tier pages. There is one photo category. I think the website could use more photos, because it seems to be a little text heavy, but the design also works how it is.

The website has a variety of stories featured on the front pages. The tops of the website is used for more breaking news and more important stories. The website mimics the same story selection as the newspaper, and then website just expands on breaking news stories.

I think the website does a better job at design than the newspaper. Both have a specific reason for what they do, but I think the website is a cleaner, more organized design.