Washington Blade: Navigation
The general organization of the Washington Blade site is fairly well done with easy-to-find sections that would be found in the print version. All of the site’s articles are divided under local, national, political, health, entertainment, lifestyle, opinion and classified tabs strung along the top of the page, directly under its catchphrase “America’s leading gay news source.” Every page has this setup, with the navigation system available at the top of the page.
The physical appearance of the tabs is more informational than eye-catching. Words on each tab are white with a slate-covered background. Its font is the same as the news logo, which is placed in the upper left corner. The purpose is to get the reader from place to place without a problem. It may also be in the site’s best interest to keep the navigation bar and article titles as dull-colored as possible because the photographs found further down on the page are bursting with color. This recent week’s feature photo near the top of the page (which is interestingly placed on the upper left, rather than the upper right as one would see on The New York Times site) is particularly neutral-colored, so there’s certainly room to make the feature image very colorful. It may be overwhelming for an audience to look at brightly colored tabs and other navigation alongside neon-lit scenes from a nightclub or play.
The navigation is, however, very functional. Most tabs have narrowed down options in a dropdown box that appears when the mouse hovers over the given section. For instance, the entertainment tab offers the options to focus on theater, film, music, books, dining, bar guide, arts & culture calendar, outragedc and contest. This is extremely helpful for the reader who does not want to sift through articles about new upcoming movies to find out about the nearest LGBT-friendly restaurant.
Even when the tabs to the main sections are selected (for instance, if someone clicked entertainment instead of bar guide) the following page still divides most of the sections separately to ensure a more organized site experience.
The contact and about us pages are linked from the home page (at the very bottom, after much scrolling) but nevertheless give a comprehensive list of all the staff and provide a short history about the Blade.