The Times of Oman website uses the same red that they use for their main accent color in the print edition. It is also used in the same way. Small touches of the red in the section headings and buttons give the website an overall red look without becoming too distracting. Although they do carry this red through from the print edition to the website, they drop the other colors used in the print to indicate different sections. I understand that they are using the red for consistency across the website, but would have liked to see those colors show up as well (maybe in the buttons that navigate to those sections.)
The website is using a different body copy typeface than they do in print. While they use a serif in print, they are using a sans serif in larger point size on the web. This difference makes sense because websites generally run larger point sizes for their type and the sans serif has a large x-height, which makes it easy to read. The typeface they chose also looks similar to the one they use in print. They’re display type seems to be the same on the web, including the typeface they use to indicate which stories are most important. This also works well because it establishes a consistency between the print newspaper and the web presence.
Once again, I am not impressed with the Times of Oman’s photo usage. Their main photo slideshow on the homepage of their website includes some noticeably pixelated images, simple mug shots, and mostly uninteresting pictures of objects. All other photos on the homepage are small and most of them also mug shots. Using photos like this makes the site seem cheap and detracts from their credibility as a news site (in my eyes at least.)
The website is broken up into boxes on a six column grid, making each news brief live in a small amount of space. Since the web provides unlimited space, I’d rather they expand to three columns and give their content more breathing room. One of the boxes links to their YouTube account where people can see their news videos, but it’s easy to miss among all the other content. The videos themselves, once you make it to their YouTube channel, are shot well — some of them beautiful — and informative. They work well for a news website, giving their readers information and visuals they wouldn’t be able to give in print.
The Times of Oman uses the same red for their links as they do for accent colors throughout. They also, however, use a blue for links in extra content like ads. What makes this confusing, in addition to the two different link colors, is that they type their staff emails in blue as well but the email addresses don’t link to anything and are not clickable. As a user of the website, I’m not sure what is and is not a link.
Another thing that doesn’t work well for me is that they are using a different nameplate for the print, the web, and their facebook page. While each one includes elements of the others, having three different nameplates seems excessive and makes their identity inconsistent.
The navigation bar always takes up one column on the left-hand side of the website. Though we’ve seen that horizontal navigations work better than vertical, because they tend to take less space, the way the Times of Oman has set its navigation works well. It works because the navigation stays in the same place no matter what page you end up on. The buttons are also simple labels like “Oman” and “World” and “Sports.” They show readers exactly what they should expect on that page. They are also they same types of labels the Times of Oman uses in their print version, which is fitting since the website covers the same content. The only difference I’ve noticed, is that the print edition has separate sections for “India” and “Pakistan” and the website just has “World.” This is confusing to me because of the space that the web allows. I would assume that they would add sections instead of taking them away because they have more space. I think overall, the Times of Oman is not using space well on the web. It feels very much like an online newspaper which is good because it is clear that they are a news website. However, it is also bad because they seem to be cramming everything into the website as if they are working on newspaper space when they don’t need to.