Friday, August 05, 2005

Toggling away

Alrighty. After my earlier rant at the Post, I figure I should give them props for something I do agree with - their switch to a dual format home page, one that shows local news and one for national users from outside of the D.C. area. Cyberjournalist has a chat with Jim Brady about how the process has gone thus far (via onsquared):
"As for the two home pages, the feedback has been largely positive," Brady tells "We're now able to do day-parting on the local page because, for the first time in the site's history, we know the time zone of a large majority of the people using a home page. So we're promoting traffic cameras during rush hour, more aggressively promoting weather stories, etc. It's really given us an outlet for local stories that historically we've always shown some restraint with, since so many of our home page users are national and international. So I think we feel liberated.

"The only issues that have been raised consistently by readers are the lack of a notification on the page that signals which page you're on, which we're working on, and also a concern that there's no direct link between the local and national/international pages, which is intentional, since our local page is not a local-only page, but a locally focused page. So you're not missing any national and international news if you sign up for the local home page, and you don't want any local news if you've signed up for the national/international home page. So we felt a toggle would create more confusion than it would resolve. But, as I said, overall, it's been popular and the feedback pretty benign."

Sounds good, but frankly, I disagree with Brady on if a toggle would create more confusion. I think it'd be a billion times easier. Right now, as far as I can tell, it's a pain in the ass to switch back and forth between the local and national. I'm subscribed to the local page right now, but when I move to Chicago, I'd like to be able to easily see both pages. A simple toggle at the top of the page would solve that for me. Right now, you must go to the "Home Page Changes" Editor's Note and choose your version there, or else go to the "Edit your profile," login, change your preference, and go back to the home page. It's kind of a process. Why not just havet your page set to automatically go to whichever version you've subbed to in your profile, and then, when you're on the homepage, you can toggle back and forth, with the page you're on in bold on the appropriate tab so it's easy to know which version you're viewing. People love tabbed browsing - why not a version of a (sort of) tabbed homepage?

Or maybe it's stupid. I dunno.