More Than Shovel-ware A Call for Layered Stories for Online Journalism Yanjun Zhao, Ph.D. Cameron University How users read on the web? They don’t. Instead of reading, they scan pages. Reading something from a screen is more tiring to the eyes than reading the same information from a hardcopy. Web usability Visual design of pages and the logical presentation of information Makes it easy for the user to find the desired info quickly and efficiently This paper addresses the story page design in online journalism The focus of this study: Text information design Visual design of online news text Not the multimedia add on This study studies the presentation of text body of online news articles the limits of shovel ware The potential of benefits of layered stories Literature review Current status: shovel ware Transferring content from newspaper to the webpage with little or no revision. This approaches assumes that people would read an article online the same way as they would read a print version Wrong assumption The assumption under shovelware ignored some crucial features of people’s online reading style. Scan v. read Less patient reading long text from screen Resolution 72 ppi on screen 300 ppi in print Online Journalism’s capacity Necessary to present the info in a “scanable” way. When info presented well, users could have easy and fast access to additional info. Layering Dividing text-based stories into several sections, and each section has a section heading, which represent the whole section Advantage: structure Layering is like a map Provide a quick idea about the gist of the article RQ: How effective is layering? Hypotheses: compared with shovelware, a layered story will be rated as: Better organized Easier to understand Faster to read More visually attractive Less fatigue Less boring Method: experiment Three groups read the same articles in three versions. Shovelware group Layer group Hard copy group (Control group) stimuli stimuli stimuli Results 6 5 4 layer 3 shovelwear print 2 1 0 organization easiness to understand visual attractiveness fatigue in reading boring in reading Discussion The Internet, as a medium, offers huge potential for journalism. Layering offers Better organization of info Less time to read Visual attractiveness Less fatigue Less boring reading experience Discussion Online journalism is still in its infancy. It is important for online journalists to understand the visual principles that underlie online writing, even though these principles don’t jump into our eyes. The layering approach, with its clean and efficient design, has strong potential to change the landscape of online journalism.