Nbcnews.com Creates the World’s Least Usable (and possibly the ugliest) News Website

Nbcnews.com (formerly msnbc.com) has a history of terrible design choices. One of the worst, which I wrote about back in 2010, involved some ridiculous header that remained invisible when the site loaded unless you chose to scroll the page up. While I had no doubt that they would continue their tradition of making bad design choices, I was shocked to see their newest debacle.

Unfortunately I don’t have any images of the old layout to show you, but here’s a quick capture of their new layout as compared to the old:

Breaking_News_&_Top_Stories_-_World_News,_US_&_Local_NBC_News_-_2014-02-05_12.15 Breaking_News_&_Top_Stories_-_World_News,_US_&_Local_NBC_News_-_2014-02-06_13.24

Seems like whoever is in charge over there is really excited about mobile devices since it’s painfully obvious that the site has been designed to target smaller screens. In fact, it appears as if Nbcnews.com has totally forsaken desktops. Now, they have some Frankenstein hybrid of their old site mashed up with Pinterest. Hope you like images with your news because the site is loaded with them. Loads and loads of large images (which we all know mobile devices love to load quickly because they’re lightweight and don’t eat up data charges). And good luck trying to find anything easily. Categories seem to be randomly ordered, and the search page looks like a typical 404 page not found page, except that it’s not — it’s really their search, just optimized for mobile devices (hooray!).

I’d be curious to know if Nbcnews did any research or used focus groups to hone their new site, or whether this was all created without feedback. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m all for a decent mobile-friendly website, but don’t ignore desktop users in the process of building one.

4 thoughts on “Nbcnews.com Creates the World’s Least Usable (and possibly the ugliest) News Website”

    1. Thanks jj. At least it allowed me to grab a screenshot for comparison. I still hate the new layout. Can anyone recommend a decent alternative now that nbcnews.com is dead to me?

  1. Yahoo did it a while ago. Not least usable but way less usable than the the old design. Fortunately they keep the previous version running.

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