Part 2 Research point: Compare and contrast newspaper & website design

Compare and contrast the design and layout of a national newspaper with its own website. How have their graphic designers dealt with the differences between traditional and new media? Reflect on how the content has been structured and laid out on the page, how the overall website or newspaper has been structured to support you finding and reading different articles, and your overall experience of being a reader of this material.’

I don’t have a national paper to hand, but I do have The North Devon Journal, which is a big enough publication to have a decent website.

The Printed Newspaper

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The news lines  are all in the black chunky slab serif. All the section headings have different a typeface reversed out, on these blocks of background colour.

5 columns, articles often divided vertically by these narrow strips of colour.

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The teardrop/plextrum shape on “yesteryear” also appears at the top of the pages, as the page number.

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Letters pages – 5 columns of text per page.

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Lifestyle section using the same typeface as above for the ‘J2’. Four col text here.

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Vertically arranged headings incorporating ‘J2’ and an arrow leading upwards. Double column for the images on the left, four columns used for image right.

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As you can see, sometimes the page is spilt horizontally, with a different number of columns above and below. Sport – 4 columns text plus ads, then 5 cols below.

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All the ‘Lifestyle’ sections have this typeface.

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The North Devon Journal Website

http://www.northdevonjournal.co.uk

The first thing you notice is that there are A LOT of adverts!

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The main header for The North Devon Journal is the same typeface as the printed version, and the blue is a recognisably similar colour, but the news headlines are sans serif, as is the body copy.

As you can see, the page layout is entirely different – each news story is signposted with a thumbnail image, and the news headline contained in one column. Then each item is separated by a dotted line.

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The entertainment/lifestyle section is not really recognisable as the same publication once you scroll down a bit

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Most sections are laid out in the same as the main news though, with thumbnails that lead to each story. For example, heres the main sports section

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When you click through to a story, its laid out like this – content on the left, ads on the right.

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I think most differences are down to the fact that digital and print work so differently – with the website, you can see the main menu has grouped topics into sub categories;  this allows us to click on each item, which then has its own dedicated page. The issue of ‘space’ is different online. Its obviously quicker for a developer to use a consistent layout, with thumbnails of the same dimensions for every item, content can then be slotted into the same space, because its just a taster of the full article.

For each full article, you can simply add copy into a pre-determined width and keep flowing downwards as long as is needed and the viewer can scroll down accordingly. Paper can’t do this!

As a reader I would the website is easy to navigate and the articles are fairly easy to read, but there is a sense of clutter because of the volume of adverts. The printed version gives you the standard experience of reading a paper, its very easy to understand where you are, and what section of the newspaper you are looking at, and I quite enjoy good old fashioned feel of newsprint in my hands.

Its would have been nice if they’d managed to replicate the section heading fonts and maybe some of the appropriate colour headings, but its not surprising the body copy has changed to san serif – its just more common online, whilst print still favours serif. Whether this is really about legibility, or print/digital convention, I can’t say!

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