Jang News: Advertising vs User Experience
The Jang News website is one that just keeps getting worse with each passing day. When I wrote a review of Dawn.com Beta website launch, I highlighted their technical and interface shortcomings but the Jang News’ website is not worthy of even that. It’s lacklustre and shows absolutely no concern for its readers or the news that it serves.
The website is a big hoarding with no less than 20 advertisements on the front page while at the same time carries less than 100 words of actual news. And it looks really ugly.
This is what happens when you just don’t care about the readers. This is what happens when designers develop, developers design, business units dictate the roadmap and talent in general lacks. This is also what happens when you just don’t understand interaction design, information architecture, usability or have been oblivious to the paradigm shifts in online advertising and technological trends. This screen capture of the Jang News website clearly highlights all this.
The actual news content is highlighted in green boxes while the rest of the page is mostly advertisements. All ad slots highlighted in red are available for sale while unsold ad space is used for in-house products. The advertising tariffs section of the website indicates the type of ads available for sale on Jang News Online which includes video and expandable ads at a premium. The annoying expandable ads block access to the news until readers close them (shown in the screen capture) while video ads block the rest of the page because they take so long to load (Pakistan has very low broadband penetration in any case).
Jang News Online gets a considerable amount of traffic because the Jang News Group has entrenched itself as the face of news over the past 70 years that it has been around–a time during which it enjoyed little or no competition which helps explain their complacency.
Now, I am not even sure why an advertiser would want to publish one ad amongst 20 when it’s well known that users develop banner blindness and moreover the website’s ad space is extremely diluted and the screen interface is so cluttered.
The page reminds me of the days popup ads ran rampant until readers expressed rage and all major browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, et al) reacted by featuring popup blockers to put an end to it all. Unfortunately, in Jang’s case it’s not easy to block the spam. The website’s front page is practically an online hoarding which seems to take it’s cue from the million dollar homepage (whose sole purpose is to show advertisements) rather than a news site. One may easily pass this off as spam in its current state.