At first, Zaman’s website is incredibly cluttered. While it is in Turkish, admittedly, the clutter alone makes it difficult to navigate through, as I don’t even know where to begin reading, let alone find a story. It has two different navigation bars (which could work) but they’re separated by the main header. Underneath the main header is a stock listing, which is the first thing I immediately see when entering the website. Stocks, I’m assuming, are not a priority for the majority of Turks and so I feel the space dedicated to such information only leads to further clutter.
The homepage follows a basic organizational pattern, but still looks cluttered at first as too many objects and elements are packed into a small amount of space, competing for each other. There is a dominant visual, being a center photograph with a tease to a story. A sidebar features three additional photos with teases, and then the additional headline stories are featured underneath, with faded out photographs in a “slideshow” format. To the right of all this is a boring, gray box of columnist headshots and teases for their columns.
This is all you see on the homepage before scrolling down. Yes, its crowded, but there are some elements of the website so far that I do appreciate is that its very visual-heavy. There are lots of photos competing for my attention, which is nice in the sense that there’s a greater chance I’ll click on the story and read it. Each photo and tease has a black opaque box over it with a tease, which is a small element, but one that makes the teases look more sophisticated. As for the very long story slideshow, I think the concept is good but fewer stories would be less overwhelming for the viewer.
Once you scroll down the page, you begin to see the rest of the homepage is very structured and grid-like, following what seems to be a six-column grid. It’s incredibly visual with very little text, huge social media icons frame the beginning sections, and photos teasing to stories and videos are placed neatly down the page. It’s organized by stories, all in the center, and then a sidebar for all multimedia pieces. The stories are organized down the page by news, business and sports.
The colors on the website are primarily blue, orange, white and gray, following the exact color palette used in the print edition. The sans serif type is additionally the exact same as the one used in the print edition. Photography is treated in the same way as it is in the print edition as well, in that a large photo would be set with text over it, and that the photos are primarily head shots. The website is scattered with the same headshot cutouts as there are in the paper. Through the color, typography and photos, a strong congruency is created between the print and online edition, preserving Zaman’s brand and identity.
The secondary pages are far more organized than the home page. In clicking on the sports page, for example, you see that it follows the grid strongly, with the top half consisting of large teases and a dominant photo in the form of a slideshow. As you go down, you see a similar format from the homepage, creating congruency. Stories align along the center, with a sidebar for multimedia pieces and videos.
The articles themselves usually have a large photograph, which often isn’t great, and a bold headline in the same sans serif typeface used throughout. A sidebar of social media options are immediately underneath this, with options to tweet or post the story on Facebook. The text itself runs large with a sans serif body copy, and on the side there is a sidebar with other similar stories, whether they’re columns or multimedia.
I first was really overwhelmed by Zaman’s website, thinking it too cluttered and cramped to possibly be useful in reading news. But as you explore the website more, by clicking on secondary pages and articles themselves, the website begins to follow the grid structure well, and uses white space to separate its content , which is relieving. If the home page followed this same format and didn’t try to present too much content all at once, the website would have a far better design.