Field Notes – Mother Jones’ Website

Mother Jones’ website is simple, easy to navigate, and reflects a traditional approach to the topics covered. There is a lot of information and many things to choose from on the main home page, which allows for several points of entry and greater chances to grab a reader who may not be a regular Mother Jones fan.

The nameplate on the website is the same as the print publication. However, unlike the print nameplate, there is a lack of color which is made up for in the bars of color in the menu.

The colors are an interesting choice because I haven’t found them in any other place in the print publication. However, they are simple and successful in reflecting the topic at hand. “Home” is a traditional, attention-grabbing red and “environment” is green. Other than red used in some section titles, there is no further use of color on the site. I believe that this works well for the site because too much isn’t going on.

I don’t get the same feel for the website as I do from the print publication. The website seems more clean and modern, while the magazine is more colorful and vibrant. The two reflect a traditional approach.

Again, there are a lot of stories on the front page to choose from. Also, aside from the links to other sections, there is an area at the bottom where the reader can navigate to particular stories.

There is a clear hierarchy in stories that are important, highlighted by a main box and also “top stories.”

Social media is also integrated into the homepage, but I feel it is awkwardly placed in the middle of the page, where it can be easily overlooked.

There is a slideshow of images for the main stories and other smaller photos for “Photo Essays and Slideshows,” as well as for other stories. There seems to be a good balance between text and images. There is a lack of video and audio on the homepage, which would be ideal to include multimedia because there seems to be little that separate the content from its print publication aside from blogs and commentary, as well as more choices.

However, when navigating to secondary pages, the section bar at the bottom always plays up photos and slideshows to guide the reader.

Mother Jones’ site uses both serif and san serif, serif for the headlines and san serif for the body text. It works well and the readability also does a good job to make it easy for the reader.

I thought it interesting that they do not use the same section names as the print publication. In the magazine, “OutFront” and other sections are used, while the website implements more generic titles.

Hierarchy could be better on secondary pages. The main story is made bigger but the rest  are given the same importance and the reader just scrolls down continuously to see the same text and image format. They use subtle color boxes in the section to indicate where the story belongs, which is nice but I think too small to really be recognized.