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.
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.
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.