For this week, I decided to look at Vox — the Ezra Klein website, not the Missouri School of Journalism publication. I’ve been reading it fairly regularly since it launched less than a year ago. I’m not in love with any of the explain-the-news sites that have popped up over the last year are so, but Vox is probably the one I read the most.
Overall, I think Vox’s site is pretty easy to navigate, although I wish there were clearly delineated sections somewhere near the top of the site. Instead, I have to scroll to find different article sections like politics and business. I liked having a clear lead story and latest news near the top of the site though. It makes it easier for regular readers to follow the latest content and the two features are clearly at the top of the hierarchy.
There is also an easily accessible search bar for the search-minded people. The site is clearly designed to be the type for the endless scrollers among us, though. In terms of site layout, it’s very link-happy. Clicking on a story’s title or picture will take you to the article text. Authors’ names are also linked to their article lists from the homepage, which is nice. There isn’t a whole lot of air between sections, but the canary yellow headers make it pretty clear what section each set of articles are under.
Overall, I would say the site design is pretty idiot-proof. People who are only interested in one part of Vox’s content, like its signature note cards, for example, don’t have the easy of a menu to navigate to that section though. In terms of heading back to the home page, the big Vox header, which is atop each article, will take you there. There is also another link to the homepage, a slightly smaller Vox footer, that also links home.
While the site is heavy on text and graphics, the mostly neutral color scheme and simple typography and geometry of the site keeps it from feeling too noisy. There is also a decent amount of white (or in this case, gray) space sprinkled throughout. My only real design gripe is in the card stocks. As a habitual back button clicker, I find myself going backward through dozens of cards when I should just be hitting the Vox header or exit button. Maybe those two exit tools could be a little bigger on the page.