Monthly Archives: September 2012

Eyes on USA TODAY’s New Design

USA TODAY disclosed it’s redesign of its logo, paper, and website, as a gift for its 30th birthday. As a media that is best known for its visual story telling, I am curious to see if the redesign succeeds its traditional advantage on visual representation.

Upon browsing through the beta website, I spotted the following 3 highlights that I would like to share and discuss with you:

  1. Similar reading experience with tablet-based e-magazine 
  • While reading one news section, next section is shown with its coded color on the right side, indicating a slide-effect can be used to view next section.
  • Visual-based story telling strategy is consistent in the new design, without any cluster of characters in main pages.
  • If choose to read one story, the story body will be loaded as a pop-up window above the current page, as shown in the second snapshot. Cross out the pop-up window can lead you back to the original page, which is snapshot #1. You can also click left or right arrow to view previous or next news in detail. This design actually lightens the navigation burden (adding breadcrumb trail…) and decreases the sense of loss, as the cross-out action is very intuitive and users know they can always go back easily.

    2. Simple, clean, and color-coded menu.

If you hover your mouse over one of the un-chosen menu item, the coded color will expand and fill in the rectangular menu button. This gives quick visual feedback and proper clue of affordance for users.

    3. Social media sites (e.g., Twitter & Facebook) alike features

Another thing I like about the redesign is its natural integration of common UX features adopted in modern SNS. For example, in the first snapshot, the expandable “RIGHT NOW” tab is a good stimulus for users to keep up to date. It forms an acute image of USA TODAY, compared to other static-looking news websites. Another example would be the continuous scrolling interaction mode, which is very common for SNS, such as Twitter and Facebook. Compared to the traditional pagination interaction mode (see below), continuous scrolling enables a more fluent browsing experience, with much more appealing looking.


Overall, with the new look, USA TODAY would definitely be one of the news sites that I visit often. Because with the easier and fun interaction, it brings enjoyable reading experience. How do you like it?


A quick note for learning and using smart object in Photoshop

With the need to hand in a graphic design for my website, I explored several tips of using Photoshop to render website prototyping. Smart object is a very important feature for UI designers. Here are some quick links to some insights of using smart objects. 

From Viget-Inspire blog:

From Tutsplus: