When it comes to news there is a set of expectations that readers have and that may determine the success or not of a newspaper. Make sure your publication apply the following 10 User Experience (UX) and content tips!
1) The title has to give out the most important information and be catchy, so that I know what has happened and I still want to know more. The title has to embed a click or tap to open the full article.
2) We need to include an image, video or gallery. In the digital world we are used to give less attention and have less time to enjoy information, therefore an image, gallery or video give readers the opportunity of collecting much more information and feel engaged at emotional level quicker than only reading text. The image has to be clickable and lead to inner article.
3) When I land on the inner article the text has to have a font that reflects the character of newspaper and news and the size of the font has to be easy for users to read. If I use a font that looks like the one of comics then the news more likely will have to be about comics. If I want to tell a story about a heartquake I cannot use Londrina Sketch font.
4) Articles need to be adjusted and formatted properly for any devices. It is a fact that we read news on different devices, in the early morning more on tablet and phones, at work more on desktop, later at night again more mobile and tablets. Therefore the user has to feel comfortable in navigating through our news on any devices. In order to achieve this objective we just have to make sure we have a Responsive web site.
5) It is vital that articles can be commented and shared. The comment and share fields/buttons need to be visible, easy to identify and comfortable for the reader to use. The size has to respects tap and clicks proportions, because there is nothing more annoying than clicking on the button to share with twitter and getting whatsapp opening or even worse nothing happening.
6) Advertising should not block the user from his/her reading, therefore even if you choose to use overlay ads make sure they do not last over 4 seconds, this time in fact is enough for our brain to process the info and decide if we are interested in opening in a new tab or window. And here it comes another very important matter of user experience, always make sure that any actions like share, comment or advertisement opens on a different space. Our user has to stay on the news until the end and not navigate away from our site.
7) Make sure you have suggestions for your readers to continue navigate through your news site, widgets of most read of the day/week/month and related content can help.
8) It also provides better user experience the possibility of saving an article to read it later and provide your users with the possibility of receiving newsletters of most relevant news, by category or popularity or region, etc. For this purpose a user login or subscription form may work very well.
9) Make sure that in the first paragraph of your article you give a summary of the news. Do not try to create suspense in the first paragraph. It should give the who, what, where, when and how/why of the news, while from the second paragraph on the details should develop into a nice narrative and engaging sequence of details. Be careful though on digital newspaper an article should not go over 500 words, unless is a special and it includes more sub-articles.
10) If you add numbers, graphics or statistics make sure you mention your source and provide a link to the reference. There is so much information on the internet that sometimes we reject news and newspaper that does not feel reliable. And an important show of professionalism and accountability in journalism is provided by sources.