2016 Best of Show: Online

Entries were submitted during the 2016 High School Communications Conference


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The following Best of Show: Online results are from the 2016 High School Communications Conference in Boise.

Online publications will be judged on newsworthiness of content, quality of reporting & writing, impact of photographs & graphics, adherence to good website design principles, and regularity of posting new content. All results are final.

 

Madison High School – 1st place
https://mhsbobcatbeat.com/

  • Really nice typography and colors
  • Website looks fantastic on mobile
  • Good use of including images with every story — make it a staff goal to have an image with every story
  • On the side rail, consider having the Facebook feed above Instagram and Humans of Madison. You guys do a really good job with social media, and since this is updated frequently, it should be promoted higher on the page.
  • The navigation bar, accessible by the top hamburger button, is pretty lost on desktop. See if there’s a way to have this display as a wide bar with links on desktop but keep it as a hamburger button/hidden menu on mobile

 

Borah High School – 2nd place
http://www.borahsenator.com/

  • Really nice looking and well-organized site. Including so many images is good for engaging readers and making content look good
  • Consider cropping images that are for your slider so they are all the same size. It’s hard to read the content below the slider when the height of the slider is constantly changing
  • The navigation bar has too many options. Ask readers what they really look for, or if possible, check out your analytics to see what people are clicking on. Try to bring this down to just five or six links
  • If possible, can you design an ad to fill the “Advertise here” space? This would give advertisers a better sense of how ads look on the site, and may drive engagement.

 

Skyline High School – 3rd place
www.wsswired.com

  • More images needed. Take a look at other news sites — images go with pretty much every article. See if you can change your theme to include a large image at the top to drive readers.
  • Ticker at the top is really cool, but should be updated with more recent stories.
  • Category pages with tiled rectangles is a very modern design, but look could be improved even more
  • Consider a “digital first” model where you publish stories online as they are finished, instead of publishing online after the print edition. Nationally, this is becoming a standard model and your print readership really won’t be impacted if people have seen stories online.
  • Consider non-text elements like video or designs saved and attached as images. There’s a lot of type on the web, so think of ways to engage people beyond just written stories.
  • Story selections are really good. I wanted to read more of your content and look forward to the next batch of publishing.
  • If possible, remove the dark background — readability tests have shown light on dark is hard for readers to look at
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