Usability is a term that is becoming increasingly relevant as journalism reinvents itself in all shapes and sizes across the online medium. When print medium was the only option, if you had two hands you could navigate the paper. Now navigating some sites feels like walking through a confusing labyrinth of text, links and images. Advertisements invading the screen from all angles serve as swarming flies that you can’t swat away.
So, how can we fix this problem as journalists? Survey the people. Listen to their concerns. Adapt where appropriate.
Another solution is to remember to keep a website simple and direct. If someone goes to your site and has no idea where to begin or what its purpose is, chances are they are likely to not bother sticking around. Clear interfaces with working links is the first step to get those clicks coming that keep a website successful.
Today’s generation needs their information delivered efficiently and immediately. A journalist should inform the public but do so in a way that helps people understand the information. This method does not mean dumbing down information. It means making information as accessible as possible and with little room for gaps.
All of this being said, this is not your grandmother’s journalism. Navigating the web doesn’t have to be a frustrating journey down the rabbit hole if the interface does its job.