Front Page view for social news

Social news websites like Digg, Reddit and (to a lesser extent) del.icio.us are great for many reasons, like getting certain coverage the mainstream media rarely shows. As news layouts go, however, there is much to be desired. The endless list views, where no story visually carries more importance than another, is not the ideal for readers.

There is of course a legitimate reason why these websites display that way. Digg and Reddit would not survive without users providing feedback on the news they like and dislike, keeping the list constantly evolving. Having one story sit in the top spot for an entire day means other stories are getting ignored. The list view is perfect for social editors.

However, to create the best experience for readers, Digg and Reddit should offer what I call a “Front Page” view.

Major newspapers know the importance of layouts. The top story is featured, with a large headline and large photo, and the less important stories have shorter descriptions and smaller (or no) accompanying photos. NY Times.com and Washington Post.com each employ such a view, making it easy for readers to see what’s important.

The basic principle is to feature the story with the top diggs or Reddit points as the top story and arrange the lesser valued stories accordingly.

These Front Page “news editions” could be organized in all the classic methods. In the case of Digg, there could be a daily edition, a weekly paper and one for newly popular stories, for readers who check the front page more often. The photos that accompany the stories could be harvested from the linking website, or snagged from Google Images, like Google News.

Another interesting idea on a similar note would be a view laid out like a real newspaper, with half or the first quarter of the story appearing on the page.

But you may ask, why should these sites cater to the social freeloaders, who aren’t adding any value to the website through votes or submissions? In the case of Digg, there is a total of less than 2 million registered users. Weigh that against its estimated 13 million visitors per month, and you’ll understand that there is a silent majority that is not getting the best tools for what they do—read the news.

It seems like this could be fairly easily built using the Digg API, so if any developers want to give it a shot, go for it!

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1 comment so far

  1. […] read more | digg story […]


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