I often read comments on Digg and Slashdot about the poor quality of some news site therefore I've come up with five golden rules for any news site:
1. Put the Entire Article on One Page
This must be one of the main gripes when it comes to reading articles on-line. It frustrates me, you start reading an article then for some reason it stops and you have to wait for the next page to load. There is no logical reason to it, almost everyone has scroll wheels and the concept of scrolling is well know with operating systems so why do news sites think they need to break up an article into two or more pages?
Rarely do I click past the first page of an article unless its really good, surely their site statistics tell a similar story for most users.
The BBC among others get this right providing the whole article on just one page
Reuters do have a 'read as one page' link however if its only a two page article it is defunct anyway. It's sites like Reuters that make me sympathise with Adblock users.
2. Use Large Images
In a recent BBC survey one of the main points that came up was the size of the images within their articles so in their redesign the BBC added 20% to the size of the image. Unfortunately this is still 200% too small, I wouldn't mind if it was a thumbnail link or they made use of a lightbox like on the DailyMail website.
3. Don't use Slide shows for Images
This is mainly aimed at Forbes.com, their content is good but they display it in the worst way possible.
Good: Almost every site apart from Forbes.
Its bad enough that they use a slide show in an inappropriate way but to make it auto run and the controls barely work is a total waste of what could be good content.
4. Provide External Links Within the Article
The BBC waste precious sidebar content with an 'External Links' section, rather than reading the article and clicking on something that interests me I have to search the sidebar for a potential link.
5.Write about something on-line without Linking to it
A number of news site do this, especially when they are covering something slightly controversial. For instance the article talks about a video on YouTube yet fails to provide a link to it. Its like talking about an architecturally stunning building/landmark without providing a picture.
This article from the BBC about Two students who dressed up as the TV character Borat then put the video online is a prime example, the BBC talk about the video online yet fail to provide a link to it.
When I joined Twitter several months ago I instantly started following as many people as possible, the idea being that they would follow me back and I could post links to ImAFish for them to visit. It turns out that 90% of everyone else on Twitter also has this idea and quickly my Twitter page turned into a spammy mess. The 5-10 people that I actually wanted to talk too were drowned out in all the chatter about social marketing, SEO, marketing classes online, life coaching and anything else that can be sold.
Rather than unfollowing 300 people I decided to start fresh and just follow the people I was interested in.
My new Twitter account: http://twitter.com/kingpetey
Last night I went to a talk with local BBC Shropshire radio presenter Jim Hawkins, I will admit I've never listened to any local radio because of the idea its only for old people, while Jim confirmed this, what was interesting was his approach to Twitter.
Every day his show covers a range of issues where people contact the show to discuss the chosen topic however by also posting this topic on Twitter, Jim can get replies based on this topic through Twitter and just as importantly people who don't listen to his show can contribute. Giving him a wider audience in a slightly difference sense.
Main stream media has been jumping on Twitter recently as an important tool for breaking news however as Jim has discovered its just as important to encourage local discussion and break local news.
Shropshire based media has never taken much interest in local blogging even though ImAFish gets hundreds of thousand hits per year and has proven blogging can be profitable, in fact I only know one other serious local blogger in Shropshire - Scott Patterson from UKMac. I'm sure there are more however there is no sense of community between local bloggers. Shropshire has always been behind when it comes to social media, perhaps with the BBC pushing services such as Twitter in the county it will be good for us all.
Twitter the micro blogging service finally hit the mainstream this week in the UK. It started last Friday with Jonathan Ross discussing the service with Twitter power user Stephen Fry. The discussion lasted about 40 seconds but launched a weeks worth of media attention. A lot of this came from BBC Radio 1 with some of the DJ's including Chris Moyles using and discussing the service on air.
Twitter was featured in national newspapers including the Daily Mail when Stephen Fry used the service to Tweet about being stuck in a lift (and to post picture of the experience).
UK based TweekDesk has also found itself in the news this week for the way it works with Twitter.
You can follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/imafish .
This is the pilot episode of our technology based ImAFish TV show. The show uses the same format as Revision 3's Diggnation and aims to give a British/European touch to a US show.
Let me know what you think as we are always looking for improvements. The show is 40minutes long and we discuss a range of this weeks top topics from the social new site www.digg.com.
Email us at [email protected] with your comments and suggestions
I've recently signed up to LinkedIn and have been updating my profile:
I've been working on getting connections and recommendations. LinkedIn is aimed at social networking between business professionals.
Has anyone else used LinkedIn and more importantly have they got business through it? Does it mainly cater for certain industries (tech I expect) or is there a wider appeal for the service?
Has anyone been recommended in their office to join the service?
ImAFish is pleased to launch their latest website - 12stix.com. The site details technology fixes and answers for Windows XP, Server 2003, Mac OS X, Drupal 5 & 6, CSS and PHP.
Ben Powell and Pete White are using their day to day experience in I.T. support to post their common and interesting fixes discovered in their jobs.
Last week I discussed my latest purchase - the new Acer Aspire One. I first installed Windows XP however found that it ran fairly slowly. Applications such as Firefox were especially bad taking upto 30 seconds to load certain web pages. Firefox would often go into 'jelly' mode where the application would hang for 5-10 seconds at a time.
After a couple of days with XP I reinstalled the default OS, Linspire. This ran a lot quicker than XP however left much to be desired. Even after performing several tweaks and enabling advanced mode I still felt that the Aspire One could do a lot more.
*the rest of this post has become corrupted*
Yesterday I got my hands on a brand new Acer Aspire One! The 25cm mini laptop currently on sale for £180 at Comet packs in great power and portability.
Processor: 1.6ghz Intel AtomMemory: 512mbHard Drive: 8gig SSDScreen: 1024x600Battery: 3 Hours
(The version I have on the left and the slightly more powerful version on the right) Image Techfresh.
The Aspire One comes with a cut down version of Linspire however I soon replaced this with Windows XP. This is not to say there is anything wrong with Linspire and I'm considering restoring it however I was interested to see how well XP ran.
As there is no CD drive I installed this via a USB key. XP does not run as fast as Linspire however is an acceptable speed. As many of the applications I use in XP such as Firefox and Filezilla are available under Linspire then I'm undecided as to which OS to use.
The keyboard is a good size allowing typing at a similar speed to a full size keyboard and with a 1024x600 display webpages display well.
The Aspire One includes three USB ports, a VGA socket, gigabit Lan, headphones, microphone, 5 in 1 memory card reader and an SD expansion slot.
I've been using Twitter for a couple of months now, it's a mostly pointless service that I keep going back to. Some days I can think of lots to write but most days I can't think of anything. I think I'm trying too hard to post something useful or interesting rather than just something random.
I'm following a number of people now, some of them post generally interesting stuff thats happening others post crap.