Here's the difference between the Washington Post's U.S. and regional homepages
After years of frustrating its online readers, The Washington Post today unveiled a groundbreaking redesign of its website's homepage that sets the new standard for all newspaper sites, the New York Times included. Actually, no, they just added a tiny button that doesn't do much at all.
The button, added to the left-hand side of the "In the News" bar below the flag, allows readers to select either a U.S. or regional edition. Here's a screenshot of the former, taken minutes ago:
And the latter:
Can you tell the difference? Don't squint too hard. There is no difference, at least not until below the digital fold. The regional edition features a "Local News" column down the center that pushes the "Opinions" box — featured more prominently in the U.S. edition — further down. "Top Headlines," meanwhile, is replaced by "More Metro Area Headlines," and "Columns and Blogs" becomes "Local Columns and Blogs."
In an editors' note, Raju Narisetti writes,
We hope that by giving you more choices in how you read what you want to read, we are making it easier for you to find what interests you most. We continue to work on making our overall Web site faster and easier, and this is one of the steps along the way.
Please let us know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And the comments commenced immediately, prompting an update about how to set your preference if the toggle isn't working, which, apparently, it wasn't for some users. FishbowlDC used this opportunity to take a shot at the Post's "wretchedly slow site," but what's more glaring is the pointlessness of the toggle, another half-measure that points in the right direction but accomplishes very little at all.
Toggle or no toggle, the Post should be featuring more local content on its homepage — that's its future, whether it chooses to admit it or not (well, local news and Celebritology). But as a reader, why would you bother selecting the regional edition if you still have to scroll down to find regional news? I suspect most people looking for regional news will continue to do what they've always done: click on the "Local" tab above the flag. It's a much larger target for your cursor, anyway.
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