Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Introducing design and creativity to the web


I've been banging on about this for a while now, to anyone who will listen to me. But shouldn't the newspaper industry use the skills of its subs to improve the look of its websites?

I'm sure there must be a reason for this, but as of yet no one has been able to supply one.

We have very skilled designers who work for newspapers. Every day they produce dynamic fronts which sell. Without the skills of our subs, newspaper sales would have plummeted even further than they have.

So why newspaper companies straight-jacket their website with templates is beyond me.

I accept that sites need to be easy to navigate, so navigation should remain consistent. But there's plenty of room for design on line.

Every story should be treated like a lead - with illustrations and strong heads.

Instead most (read all) newspaper websites deliver blocks of copy with little or no thought for picture power.

In many ways, online newspapers are reminiscent of late 18th century or early 20th century newspapers, dominated by large slabs of copy with very little or no thought for design.

And this isn't only restricted to British online newspapers. Newspaper websites across the world are constrained by the dreaded template.

Techies are content with design-less web pages, but the general reader on the street is not. And it is these people which newspapers need to attract to their websites.

If, as predicted, the long awaited Kindle is as popular as expected, then design will become even more important.

So which company will take the first great leap forward. Watch this space ...

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