KansasCity.com

The KC Star takes a modern approach to its newspaper design, infusing colors and sans serif typeface to give the publication a different feel. That’s why it’s shocking how prehistoric the website counterpart looks.

A major strength of the paper version is its use of mastheads and section fronts. The section heads and flag are all in colorful boxes, coded by section, with large typeface and pictures inserted throughout. The website, KansasCity.com, has a weak front page with way too many promos to other sections of the website. The flag is in a box with a shot of the Kansas City skyline and a cheesy star. The promos, unaligned and numerous, are in boring grey boxes. An annoying ticker promoting coupons and savings is constantly scrolling across the top of the screen.

The multimedia presence is also weak, something that is needed on the web. Instead of the sharp, dark rectangular boxes found in the paper, there are weak, rounded boxes for each group of stories. The paper also does a good job of making pictures dominant and endearing for major stories, but the homepage is full of small square shots and one small image accompanying the main story. This picture, however, does lead to a photo gallery, which is represented by a logo. This is a wise idea for the web.

Even though the links promoting the sections are grey and bland, the color code system from the newspaper kicks in when you go to each page. But it’s not as dominant as in the paper, making it harder to identify a theme to each subject. The text is also cluttered on the secondary sections, as if the newsroom is trying to jam way too much information to each page, which makes no sense of the web’s unlimited space. The worst instance of this is the business section, which greets the reader with a wide array of colorful stock quotes, with no way to be drawn in to the information.

The website’s footer has good intentions. It lists all the section links and has a large, cartoony bunch of promos to things like Facebook, Twitter, and newspaper subscriptions. But, like the rest of the website, it’s grey and bland. If the same technique taken in the paper was taken here this could really be a major strong points of the website.

andrewpetrie