As soon as you enter Bustle’s site, you know where the stories are. It is obvious because the stories exist as a photo and a quick headline. It is apparent that you can just click directly onto the photo in order to get to the story. It seems the most popular stories are organized into a slide show type format at the top of the page and then as you scroll down, there are other stories from each news category.
The navigation on the rest of the site either involves scrolling down to get to more stories or clicking on the content category tabs at the top of the page. The tabs at the top of page quickly take you to another page that specifies either news, entertainment, fashion & beauty, lifestyle or books content.
There is also a search feature called “explore” at the top with the tabs that enables the reader to search something specific within the entire site.
When you click on the explore bar, the content of the page becomes boxes that feature an image and a title of what looks like are the most-searched items on the website. Right now the popular explore categories are Super Bowl, Katy Perry, Valentine’s Day, The Bachelor, etc.
Overall the site is easy to navigate and is very organized. When you start scrolling down the page, you are even given a section called “must reads” that lists other Bustle stories and even stories from other related websites.
Bustle.com definitely follows a few of Krug’s criteria including breaking up pages into defined areas and making clickable areas obvious. Even though there aren’t many sections to each page, a reader can clearly tell where the category bar is, where the must reads list is and where the rest of the stories are. To me it was clear that the images were clickable and that I could click them to reach the stories, but possibly older users would not know this. However, I don’t think Bustle’s stories are really trying to reach an older audience in the first place.
Unlike Krug’s criteria however is that Bustle doesn’t necessary have a visual hierarchy like he suggests. The stories all flow as you scroll, and they are all visually the same size with the same style. But for this type of site with constant content, there may not be a need for visual hierarchy. However the few larger stories at the top do suggest a little bit of hierarchy.
I really like the modern, millennial feel of Bustle’s site. It feels similar to what some of the Hearst magazines are doing with their websites. Check out cosmopolitan.com, and you’ll get what I’m talking about.
The only thing I would probably change is having the content scrolling end at some point. If you keep scrolling down, content keeps appearing. I actually like to scroll down to the end of websites to see the about, contact, etc. tabs because I actually use those (I doubt normal people who aren’t journalism students rarely do use these though). Other than that, I would say Bustle.com’s site design definitely appeals to its target younger audience who is up-to-date on the current trends and celeb gossip.