An in-class analysis of huffingtonpost.com:
Our first impression of the site was defined by the main story that was highlighted at the very top of the site. A large, red, bold headline appears immediately, with an unflattering photo of Paul Ryan following. More large, bold phrases that link to other internal articles on the same subject appear underneath the photo. At a glance, we have already learned that the site uses large, sensational headlines and attention-grabbing photos.
The site looks professional and enforces credibility. There’s enough white space to let the viewer focus on the content. Though there is a lot of content that fills the space that could easily become cluttered, but it is still organized enough so that it is easy to navigate. No pop-ups come up, and there are only two ads, both for Chevron. The site has internal search capability and its credentials and news sources listed at the bottom of the homepage.
After viewing the first story and browsing the other headlines, it is easy to see that the Huffington Post is a left-leaning publication and knows exactly what audience it is reaching. The category menu at the top of the page has tabs labeled “Latino Voices,” “Black Voices,” and “Gay Voices.”
Though the political content written from a more biased view, it may appeal to the viewers’ desire for transparency, and the articles that highlight specific readership cater to specific interests.
The articles are all packaged mostly the same way. A large headline with sans serif font that summarizes the photo or article in one phrase, a featured photo or video, and two or three short paragraphs describing the story. This format is very suitable for scanning, and there is also a “quick read” option that only displays the first few sentences before taking the viewer to the whole article.
Navigation through the different layers of the site is easy and even encouraged. Links appear in the text of the articles, usually directing the viewer to an article of another news source. Also, a long list of tags often follow an article title, giving many more options of topics in the Huffington Post that may be of interest to the viewer. The publication calls itself the “Internet Newspaper,” which is apparent in its successful facilitation of Internet-style viewing.
Related to that is the use of multimedia and graphics. On the homepage, more photos and videos take up the space than text, but not necessarily in a distracting way. Graphics blend well into the format, naturally dividing and organizing content. The different headers describe what features appear underneath, and all the graphics come in neutral colors.
Finally, some other unique features that most likely draw more viewers. The Huffpost blogs often feature guest writers that are usually experts in their respective fields, giving viewers a chance to read something by an individual they might not come across otherwise. The audience incorporation of the site is also successful. Each article has a comment section, and no login is require to post a comment. Social media links are also found on every page, and a comment can be posted to Facebook or Twitter simultaneously.