Usability and User Experience: The Daily Beast

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The Daily Beast is a news and opinion site that covers topics from around the world. However, the first thing you notice when visiting the site is the massive pop down advertisement at the top of the screen, which take a moment to load and then pushes down all other material (which is extremely annoying when you’re going to click on a link and get pushed down the screen).

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The Daily Beast’s page is incredibly busy, at first glance it seems overwhelming, with lists, links, videos, a scrolling photo slideshow, and social media. However, the navigation bar is very clear, and after further investigation it appears that they have tried to set up their pages in a newspaper style. Unfortunately, this means a lot of scrolling and not a lot of clear visual hierarchy or defined areas.

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A lot of scrolling….

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Each section on each page is labeled, but when scrolling it can be hard to determine one section from another. Each page does have common visual elements — red, black, and white color scheme, full color photographs, bold headlines, and lots of multimedia.

One positive note on usability and user experience is that the page loads remarkably fast for something so media-heavy. Additionally, the “Cheat Sheet” divides the home page in half, and gives users an easy way to preview and see the major stories of the day.

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Another positive note is that the secondary pages are significantly less busy than the homepage. These are organized in a much more logical and simplistic way, making them easier to read. They are divided visually, and sections and articles are clearly labeled.

Overall I don’t hate The Daily Beast site, I think the front page could use some simplifying (too much scrolling, too many images and videos), but I can see that the homepage is meant to draw attention to the site. While it does look a bit overwhelming, everything loads quickly, there is a ton of content, and the overall color scheme and organization does make some sense.

I don’t think Krug would enjoy the homepage very much, it deviates from a lot of the guidelines. It is not very conventional, there isn’t much clear visual hierarchy, the page isn’t broken up clearly, and although there is not audible noise, the visual noise generated by so much media is a bit jarring. However, the secondary pages go by a lot of Krug’s guidelines, and in general it is a very high functioning site (no broken links, clearly clickable items, well labeled navigation, fast load time).

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