Media Website Analysis – Forbes Blogs

I’ve selected the four websites below for my genre analysis. The first three are extensions of traditional media outlets, and the last – Talking Points Memo (TPM) – originated online.

  • Forbes Blogs: community of business and financial blogs
  • WSJ: features on leaders in industry, sports, fashion, and art
  • NPR: news and entertainment content
  • TPM: analysis of politics and government

I’ve evaluated the aesthetics of six factors that I consider part of a positive online media experience: branding, typography, imagery, layout, interactivity, and search. Obviously, quality of content is also critically important, but I won’t tackle that topic here.

Forbes Blogs

Branding:

  • All four websites feature bold logos in the upper left-hand corner of their home pages.
  • The Forbes website features the following tagline: Home Page for the World’s Business Leaders. As a relatively new visitor, I find this guidepost helpful. WSJ also uses a tagline on its home page. NPR and TPM currently do not.

Rank: #2

Typography:

  • The Forbes Blogs use only sans-serif fonts. Headlines and some body copy sections are bolded, which makes them very easy to read. Black and blue are the primary font colors, and red is used as an accent. I rated NPR higher, simply because the mix of serif and sans-serif fonts is slightly more visually interesting.

Rank: #2

Imagery:

  • One signature image is provided for each of the Forbes Blogs, which helps the user quickly search for content that is of interest. My criticism is that the images are fairly small and the overall layout appears somewhat copy-heavy. The other three websites do a much better job of capitalizing on the power of imagery.

Rank: #4

Layout:

  • I rated Forbes’ layout higher than TPM’s only because of the top navigation and slightly more liberal use of white space. In general, I find content is crunched either into the left-hand side of the page or below the fold in the case of the search results page. Forbes has done a poor job of spreading content out across the page. Additionally, its ad placements are loud and distracting.

Rank: #3

Interactivity:

  • Forbes provides access to RSS, Sharing, Commenting, Newsletters, Video, and Mobile. These items were much harder to find on the Forbes website than on the WSJ and NPR websites. I ranked it higher than TPM only because I think it has done a slightly better job with video.

Rank: #3

Search:

  • I think the Forbes Blogs’ search layout could use a significant facelift. Google ads take up most of the space above the fold and, as a result, I’m forced to scroll down to see the first search result.

Rank: #4

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