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Reading newspaper articles involves looking at words

What do most people do when they find an article they want to read in a newspaper?

Do they start flicking through the rest of the paper for related stories? Phone or email a friend to recommend the writer? Stand up and tell anyone within earshot what they’re reading?

So what makes reading online any different?

I’m no design guru, but I’ve been banging on about the poor design of online newspapers for ages. It’s always struck me as self–evident that online newspapers are not designed for reading.

To fill grids, fill pages, trawl through categories and archives, retweet, like, digg, stumble upon or whatever. But not actually just read.

But that appears to be changing. The reason is technological – screens are getting smaller and you just can’t fit as much stuff on them – but, as Drawar notes, it’s happening nonetheless.

The much heralded Boston Globe doesn’t look too unlike Andy Rutledge’s infamous New York Times redux. And Today’s Guardian gets it spot on.

The thing is that newspaper websites don’t have to do anything to take advantage of social media, comments and hyperlinks. That’s all part of the web anyway.

All they need to do is make it easy to read articles. Just like old–fashioned paper newspapers.