Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Now that major players from traditional media (CNN, New York Times, and friends) have accepted user submitted content and blog-style commenting/submission systems as a legitimate part of their news content, the distinction between "news website" and "blog" has been significantly blurred. That said, a blog/news website/community forum/internet meme generator that appeals to me is Slashdot.

As many previous posters have echoed before, it seems that less is more when it comes to blog visual appeal. Slashdot has had a very simple, consistent visual quality for the many years it has been operating. The major colours used on the site not only provide it's trademark feel, but serve to unobtrusively visually guide the reader to easily make distinctions between posted stories and the other elements of the site. All submitted stories that make the front page are clearly bounded in their own box, with consistent use of icons that provide instant visual feedback about the categorized content of the story. To assist the viewer in selecting which stories to pursue further, there is a snippet (usually around a paragraph) of the article which is visually separated by a gray line from comments by the submitter. The amount of interest in an article is simple to determine -- all it takes is a quick glance at the number of comments. To keep the front page from being absolutely flooded by the "lively" nature of the comment/discussion system, one must click a prominently positioned "Read More" link to read beyond snippets and participate in the discussion. The discussion system itself, through an in-house developed user-moderated system quickly separates the often hundreds of comments on an article to only display the full text of those that the community found interesting.

Although the site isn't known for it's astounding photographs or related visuals, Slashdot serves it's purpose of providing a sane system for moderating the "wall of text" that is the content of the internet.

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