I have been reading Thisweek Online for quite some time and I even recently began to receive it at my home on a weekly basis (it just showed up, I didn’t ask for it). While the site itself was horrendous to look at, most of the content contained inside was good and being that they are the official newspaper of Apple Valley since at least 2000, I feel that I should be getting some decent local news from them — and I generally do.
Thisweek has been touting that on April 1st they would be releasing their updated site to be known as Thisweek Live. Prior to today, they showed a video clip claiming that it would include blogs, podcasts, etc. “Excited,” I fired up Thisweek Live this morning and wondered if what I was seeing was an April Fools joke. After surfing around on the new site for a while I realized that this was not an unfortunate April Fools joke and instead was a new site that they were now redirecting from Thisweek Online’s URL.
I surfed around on the site for a while and immediately sent the link to Aaron who pointed out something that I completely agree with, the fact that they have 14 RSS feeds that are all truncated so you would not only have to subscribe to them all but you would also have to click through from your RSS reader to their ad-filled site (you can happily get rid of the majority of them by blocking http://thisweeklive.com/images/banners/*) to read the article in its entirety. If you’re going to bother with RSS feeds, at least make them useful and remove the truncation, have one for the entire site which will include all sections and news types (sports, “this just in”, etc).
The news isn’t any more current than it was before with the last posts coming in on the old site and according to the Thisweek manager’s blog, they are looking to add more video, audio and the opportunity for the community to comment on what was written. While I applaud them for realizing the power of news websites and how news print is dead, I think that they have a long way to go before they can be comfortable with their current design.
I am lost and distracted whenever I click on another section, link or story. There is entirely too much going on in the various sidebars, widgets, and unnecessary drop down menus across the top that my mouse continuously seems to find w/o me even trying. The pictures are all resized inline causing them to look fuzzy and odd. While that would be fine for an amateur site, when you’re trying to run a business from this, I suggest spending the time to do it right. The more I look through it, the more I can’t wait for them to have a site-wide full RSS feed so I never have to visit their pages again.
After looking over their site and comparing it to what I have rebuilt here recently, what would you like to see lazylightning.org offer? I’m always up for suggestions, tips on new places to check out, and even story topics. Even though I can’t get to them all, like the e-mail I received about Rosemount’s downtown initiative to use imminent domain to tear down preexisting structures and build something new, I do take the time to read them and respond to them as best I can.