Mashable : Design
Mashable is a Scottish-American news web site, technology and social media diary based by Pete Cashmore in 2005. The website’s primary focus is social media news, however additionally covers news and developments in mobile, diversion, on-line video, business, net development, technology, memes and gadgets. It has roughly 50 Million pageviews per month. Time magazine noted Mashable as one of the top 25 best blogs in 2009,and it has been described as “one stop shop” for all news pertaining to social media. By the end of March 2013, it had 3,200,000 Twitter followers and more than 1,000,000 fans on Facebook.
As far as the design of the site for the social networking enthusiasts goes, its a completely different story. The small thumbnails/ menu items with their concise descriptions are a certain giveaway of what the site is all about. This is easily the foremost crucial part of any website styling, which is to quickly attract the attention of the viewer together with giving him/her blatant hints about the purpose of the site. Having said that a much better job can be done by displaying an enterprising tagline and showing it off on the header. The font, in appearance, feels neat and clean, and also the header appears sensible overall, with no gaudiness. The uniform social media icons are reassuring and the top menu looks purposeful hitting the right note with the viewer. The video section is amazingly well maintained with a custom player that seems smart and intuitive. The periodic content updates keep the viewers visiting the site and ardent news mongers are well fed with the most fulfilling news of the latest and the most prolific details. The best part about the interface is minimal ad space encroaching on the content. This can become a real turn off, if not managed properly, to the viewer. The simple trifurcation of the display in to “The New Stuff”, “The Next big thing” and “Whats Hot” seems very practical and appeals to variety of age groups and psyches. Overall, none of the above factors fail to paint a pretty picture and have the readers visit the site again and again and again.
The slightly dull uniformity of the font on the main page may be a matter of concern. The header thumbnails/ menu items miss the pop out windows once clicked together with a mouse over effect, keeping the background same, to keep the focus of the viewer’s attention on the news item. Quite easily, posh and ostentatious photos of celebs/ technology/ sports would have had additional curious eyeballs setting out than the descriptions provided. Many times, studying the page, one gets a sense that there has been an information overload which could have been managed with appropriate white spaces together with proper paragraph indentations. The positioning of the news items appear too busy and typically messy. A fresh puff of air is the minimal adverts that paint a fair image and their positioning at not-so-periodic intervals typically keeps the fun intact. A sliding Photo gallery can do the trick and imbibe a youthful attraction to the page which generally is too tough to be detected. A rumour/overheard section can be embedded where unconfirmed/ apparent news snippets can be displayed of course with appropriate disclaimers. The plan and structure of the site occasionally comes wanting together with the stuffed content which, albeit, is very well-liked. The thoughtful placement of RSS feeds together with social media icons and live news headlines/ thumbnails need a word of appreciation.There is nothing causing confusion when the clear hierarchy depicts the importance of one section over the other. Aesthetics are very rudimentary, as lack of focus has been given to organising template of the home page. Video custom player also seems to be basic, playing automatically even when the page is not being viewed. Page load times are tough to fathom and at times content ends short of expectations and you are left with the urge to read more about the topic which ends up navigating you to some other site. The intuitiveness of the video/photo section is disappointingly bland and offers no special flavour to the way its displayed. Navigation becomes tuned to the time thanks to the reasonably fast loading speed of the pages, additionally the search functionality can surely be made better with better and more refined indexing.
The creators have given a decently organised and optimised site, keeping the content up there with the best in the business. Users enjoy the latest news feeds in the relevant section and the latest adjoining videos and photos. .What is even more pleasing is that no space or efforts are wasted in promoting any company and the usage of pics is very appropriate.
The site keeps all of its content free and readable. Given the sheer amount viewers visiting the site, the display of information and the management of space has not lost its purpose. The words and the language seem to be perfectly comprehendable with the titles speaking most appropriately pertaining to the story, as is seldom the case with other sites. The space trade-off of the ads and the content is encouraging and this site a beacon of light to other sites struggling in this aspect. Content freshness is very good, as new content is updated regularly, multiple times a day. Little attention is paid to the colours, albeit a general theme is followed.
I would rate the overall design of the website to be 3.75 out of 5, riding on many equal positives and negatives. A lot of scope lies in incorporating changes in the direction of space management, that can be and should be done (white spaces desperately needed) to bring the site up from a popular status to one of the best in the business. The looks of the site can be better with a more colorful touch and a more free interface. Being a news reader myself, I hope to see a more innovative interface of the site, keeping up with the immaculate content the site keeps.