Usability and User Experience: San Diego Union Tribune

The homepage for the San Diego Union Tribune seems easy to navigate at first glance. Different sections are clearly marked by the toolbar at the top of the page. This follows Krug’s  guideline of breaking pages into clearly defined areas. The separation is further defined as users scroll over a page a specific color comes up with a further breakdown of that section of the website. To me this feature exemplifies taking advantage of conventions because it is something unique to this site.

Screen shot 2013-09-10 at 10.08.51 PM


One guideline the site seems to disregard is creating clear visual hierarchies, which also keeps the site from minimizing noise. The main page is crowded with advertisements and structured in a confusing three-column layout. The headlines for stories, while organized by each sections defining color, are all the same size and mixed in with ads. Even when you enter a section, for example, opinions, there is no distinction between newest or most important news. Everything is the same size and given the same attention so users don’t know where to look next.

Screen shot 2013-09-10 at 10.13.29 PM


One feature that I do really like about this site, though, is the fact that nearly everything is clickable and will take users to a related story, page, graphic, or anything else. My biggest pet peeve when trying to navigate a site is having no clue how to get from one place to the next so I can really appreciate how easily I can click on any aspect of the page to take me where I want to go.

The usability of this site is definitely there with the easily clickable material and good general layout. The user experience is slightly more rough around the edges, though, while colors help guide users through the sections the lack of clear important stories creates confusion. Overall, I think this site meets the basic needs of the community it serves and users can have an effective  news gathering experience.


2 responses to “Usability and User Experience: San Diego Union Tribune

  1. I do like the fact that this site does do a breakdown of topics. When there are specific categories within categories, it further compartmentalizes information and helps me figure out where I want to go first. I like how each section is color-coded, but the two main colors were white and gray so I think they could have incorporated more color, whether it was in the text or in larger, more vivid pictures. On some pages, the most bright and eye-catching things were the ads.

    I agree with you that some sub-categories did not have hierarchy on their pages. On one of their sections (News- North County), there is an automatic slideshow of pictures with headlines that you have to click on to get to the article. Another section’s main page (Business- Tourism) seems to have a bit more hierarchy. There is a medium-sized photo at the top accompanied by the first few paragraphs of the text story on the side, while the bottom of the page has smaller, equal-sized photos with a line of subheading text beneath them.

    Overall, I agree with you that this website is easy enough to navigate, but there are some things it can do to make its content more visually appealing.

  2. It is very well designed site. It used well in color system and grid organization, I don’t know why I don’t like its opinion box design, just too much color design. Overall, their many things we can learn from its design.

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