The New Omaha.com is a Disappointment

January 29, 2007 at 6:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Omaha.com, the Omaha World-Herald’s website, has finally gone live with its new look. (journalstar.com went live with its makeover a couple months ago.) On the plus side, it appears they dumped the stupid registration requirement, so now anybody can access their articles. (Bypassing the registration process was always easy, but still annoying, with BugMeNot.)

Oops, an error message

Then there are the negatives. None of the in-page advertisements load for me, so there are a half-dozen “The connection has timed out” messages across the screen. Not that I would see the ads anyway, thanks to Firefox’s Adblock Plus extension. I did fire up the site in Internet Explorer 7, only to be attacked by not one but two popups. Are web developers seriously still using popups? Give me a break. And now I’m seeing an error message when I try to load the site. Darn first day gremlins.

I have just given the new site a quick glance, but so far I’m not impressed. From a usability standpoint, the designers made it difficult to see a whole bunch of articles at once. Instead, the user has to click or scroll to get a feel for his options. Contrast that with JournalStar.com, where the user can, at a glance, see many headlines and features. Additionally, portions of Omaha.com are inaccessible to many special needs users. Some features require JavaScript (e.g. search), and many features require a visual browser (e.g. the primary navigation). Those are big no-nos for the website of a major newspaper.

Your thoughts?

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The Comments

swoof January 29, 2007 at 7:19pm

I haven’t been able to access at all today.

beerorkid January 29, 2007 at 7:28pm

popups and no opinion :(

opening jitters?

Mr. Wilson January 29, 2007 at 7:33pm

Looks like http://www.omaha.com is working right now, but omaha.com isn’t. For me, anyway.

Swid January 29, 2007 at 7:48pm

Removing the daily article index and no editorials…LAME.

The OW-H really wants us to keep buying papers, it seems.  :-(

beerorkid January 29, 2007 at 7:51pm

I love the comments people can make on LJS, specially the opinion letters. 

Was thinking about it today, how much longer will newspapers be around?  and apparently with sites like this it will be a while.

I love you google homepage wink

Mr. Wilson January 29, 2007 at 7:53pm

I didn’t even notice the absence of opinion content. That’s just weird.

Karin January 29, 2007 at 7:59pm

The new design looks really amateurish to me.

Why isn’t everyone copying the NY times? That’s one of the very few newspaper websites I can stand.

Popups? really? What new browser doesn’t have a popup blocker installed? ugh.

beerorkid January 29, 2007 at 8:03pm

FF 2.0 and I got one popup.  but the adds take up 30% + of the viewable area anyway.

I think it looks pretty, just not enough content to keep me interested being a lincolnite.

Still at least they dropped the registering stuff.  We had to give users a special account to login here at work.  Anything to reduce spam.  bugmenot rules.

foxspit January 29, 2007 at 11:27pm

No state news either (unless that will go in the Metro/Region section).

Kyle Michaelis January 30, 2007 at 8:22am

I assume this is still a work in progress because - otherwise - the World-Herald has just begun a long slide into near-total irrelevance.

By the way, loved the discussion down below about the Journal-Star’s supposed biases.  Can we at least all agree that the LJS website is far and away superior than this piece of crap we’re seeing here.

Not that the old World-Herald site was great (or even good), but it was at least navigable with easy access to its content for registered users.  Now, they’ve even forsaken that one advantage they had.

Blogging is going to be a whole lot more painful if I have to start regurgitating the World-Herald’s editorials by typing them from their print edition.  Who do they think they are - the New York frickin’ Times?

Mr. Wilson January 30, 2007 at 1:31pm

Well, Kyle, there’s always the scanner + OCR method. Whether or not that’s faster and easier than typing by hand depends on how well Mavis and Mario taught you.

Swid January 30, 2007 at 7:01pm

Well, it’s official:

Columns and the Opinion section are gone from Omaha.com

This is pretty high up on the “What the hell were they thinking?!?” scale.

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