The Chicago Reader

This week I decided to evaluate the Chicago Reader’s website. My first impression of this site is that it is very busy.  On the homepage there seems to be a lot going on and it’s not because of an overload of colors.


The main color scheme is white and black with minor purple highlights throughout. The container is white with simple black text, but the background is a repetitive tile image and text advertising an event.  The background’s black color gives the site a crowded, closed off vibe- and the repetitive text and tile images don’t help. In the container it seems like there is a ton of information, but it’s really just the way the site was designed.

There is a main toolbar with different sections within each category and a smaller toolbar underneath it. Some of the categories on the smaller toolbar are bright blue while the others are black. Underneath the smaller toolbar is an advertisement of an event, which uses a different color blue. Also, a significant chunk of the container is a sectioned off area primarily dedicated to different ads, one of which uses a dark purple. Ultimately there is a clash of colors of what little color does exist between the different shades of blues and purples.

If the user scrolls down he/she will find another section with most of the same categories from the main toolbar. Hovering the mouse over the categories will switch the sections and content beneath. I’m not sure why this section exists so far down on the page or even at all. It’s redundant and perhaps would have been a better decision for the main section of the container.

The title is bold and the site seems to have a decent level of hierarchy. The most eye-catching feature on the page is the rotating slideshow of articles. Overall, the site is easy enough to navigate, but there should be more open space so that the site doesn’t seem so crowded. Because there is so much on the page, it’s difficult for the eye to figure out where to go and what to focus on. Different color choices would have definitely improved the site’s visual appeal.


One response to “The Chicago Reader

  1. It is nice critique. You used “container is white” shows you already understand the structure of CSS coding. I think the design of this site is too much. Many design elements make my eyes busy, the color is not utility, the accent are too much. You point out those problems. But this blog assignment should be about CSS tech.

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