It’s time for the Buzz and Wire websites to have a makeover – and where better to look for inspiration than other student newspapers?
The Palatinate, student newspaper of Durham University, is a good showcase of what not to do. The ‘news’ page is taken up with blogs, with a grand total of three national stories (also worth mentioning is that the link to ‘national’ news takes you to the Durham news section instead). Though cleanly designed, the site does look quite plain – especially when compared with Buzz’s bright colour scheme and interesting backgrounds.
Though their website isn’t much of a looker, the website of University of Texas paper thePaisano has a few neat features that should make their way across to Buzz. Both feature easy-to-find links to Twitter and Flickr, but the Paisano site boasts a Facebook page, an idea that could be utilised by Buzz/the Wire to send stories to followers with photo and video content – without Twitter’s word limit of 140 characters. Tweets, video and Audio are displayed on the Buzz homepage, yet the Paisano goes one better and provides thumbnail images of several photos too, useful for photojournalism.
In my opinion there are only a couple of design issues with Buzz. The first is that the comments column is confusing – who searches for a story via the comments? Often it is not clear what story the comment is from, and half the time the comment doesn’t fit in the box anyway. My second gripe is that the list of journalist links, though useful, makes the page very long – with most of the bottom half of the homepage just a blank white space. I would create a new tab for these, with perhaps a small, optional bio next to each one. With just a few little tweaks like these, Buzz could become even more of a useful resource for journalism students at Bournemouth University.