When I opened up the Cleveland Plain-Dealer's website last week, Cleveland.com, I found myself immediately transported back to that office in downtown D.C. on a sticky east coast summer day. Most of the sites I worked with this summer were professional, easy to search and user-friendly. Some, however, were not. Cleveland.com was one of the more frustrating ones.
As far as local news websites, it follows the status quo. Lots of ads, difficult to navigate and confusing to browse. I don't know if it's the old-style newsprint lover in me, but I hate sans-serif font. There are exceptions to this lack of excitement on local news sites. I would argue the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has an excellent site. My hometown paper, on the other hand, does not.
Visitors to Cleveland.com see more sports headlines than anything else. There is a time and a place for sports, but it's not above business, entertainment, or social media.
Though I know I sound like a "Negative Nancy," my first impressions of the site were not all negative. I like the feature that allows readers to view news for certain neighborhoods, personalizing the site.
Perhaps (I hope this is the case), this website will become easier to navigate over time, once I become more familiar with the site.