[linux-elitists] New (and !IMPROVED) Linux Journal Site

Karsten M. Self karsten@linuxmafia.com
Mon Nov 19 18:05:34 PST 2007

on Thu, Nov 15, 2007 at 01:32:02PM -0500, Greg Folkert (greg@gregfolkert.net) wrote:
> Egads!
> Takes for ever to load.

Echoing others:  no problems here.
> Looks like a content management site gone bad.

I've seen much, much worse.  LJ could use some improvement, but it's not

Just among tech sites, CIO.com looks pretty broken and is hard to parse.
That's in part my own font-size overrides (userContent.css) and content
blocking (Konqueror's AddBlocker).  LinuxWorld (sorry Don) is somewhat
better but its single central column of headlines ain't that great.
While Slashdot's format is very familiar, it's not all that info-dense,
and summaries are a tad too long (OK for a site with focused content,
but not for general news).  Infoworld has way too much whitespace (erm,
missing, ahem, graphics) and not nearly enough content (the opposite
problem of Slashdot).  Computerworld:  more or less like LinuxWorld or
InfoWorld. (not terribly surprising) though it's "Reader Favorites"
section strikes me as about right.

A news site that I think gets it pretty damned close to perfect, at
least as far as content presentation goes, is the San Francisco
Chronicle's online site, http://www.sfgate.com/

I've done comparitive analysis of it and another site (the SJ Mercury
News), noting that SFGate gets about twice the headlines in half the
text.  Part of this is layout (three columns, with a double-column of
headlines, sort of like the two far left columns of the hardcopy Wall
Street Journal.  Headlines are short, subheads a bit longer, and context
often supplied by grouping related stories together.  From today's 5:31
pm edition:

    Not Satisfied With Answers
     Pelosi calls for Inspector General 
     probe into oil spill after S.F.  hearing.
     Chronicle Breaking news 3:56 PM
    * Some oil frm bay to be recycled.
    * Different bridge vender might've helped
    * Photos | Video | Full coverage

... which gives three related stories (ship-bridge collision and oil
spill), plus links to photos, video, and additional coverage, in 7 lines
of text.Note the *lack* of gimmics such as "Read more" 9and a glases
icon), blog links, comments, etc (OK, comments _might_ be useful.  Blogs
are aggregated to the right of the screen. 

The Chronicle doesn't have great content, but it's got absolutely
top-notch presentation of what it's got, and with its excellent (and
rock-stable) archive linkage, it actually has become a very good and
useful web presence.

Other news sites could learn much from SFGate's design.

My one real complaint about LJ's revamp is I don't see any content that
really grabs me.  Two Doc Searls blogs, one from maddog.  One technical
article ("A Little Ruby"), which is apparently a book review.  No
technical material on what interests me:  management, networking,
enterprise, and development tools.  A bit too much LJ-light.
> Don't get me wrong... it "looks" nice.
> But the footer with red on black, and me with a "6300K" display almost
> shows nothing on the footer, the light text shows almost dark grey on
> the black.

Yes, the footer needs work.
> Click on ANY links there, especially any nodes... 30 second load times.

About 3s here.


Karsten M. Self <karsten@linuxmafia.com>        http://linuxmafia.com/~karsten
    Ceterum censeo, Caldera delenda est.
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