This new article skimmer for the NY Times is pretty sweet (here). They could improve the thing 1000% if they just added original photography to each of the story excerpts. I don’t actually expect them to value photography above headlines and text (it’s still the NY Times after all), but someone out there will finally wake up and realize that photography is the fastest way to communicate online.


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  1. This is clunky but a definite step in the right direction. If each box was an image with overlaid text and you could scroll to more boxes, it would be even better. It seems plainly obvious that if someone just took the plunge and did this right, it’d be a huge hit and they’d be seen as the industry leader. I guess no one really wants to lead.

  2. Maybe you could mock-up an example of what you mean – I think trying to compress some of the photos into such a narrow space (and still accommodate credit and headline) might not do the photo justice.

    @Timothy “If each box was an image with overlaid text and you could scroll to more boxes, it would be even better” Its not that easy… trying to determine text color so it is visible over a photo with variation in color and tone is not a simple matter – and sure to cause more complaints in execution that value as a user experience. But its still worth trying IMHO

  3. Rob,

    You are funny. You are asking a company who has a +100 years old culture of text to suddenly become principally visual. Remenber how long it took the NYT to actually start using color photography on its print edition ?
    They are trying very, very hard to reinvent themselves in a digital medium world and it is very impressive for an old lady. I do not see anyone making that kind of effort elsewhere. They are the most prolific news company in terms of web improvement and have also reserved a great space to photography.
    Let’s give them a helping hand. They will get there.

    Paul M

  4. This looks like what they post for the iPhone feed. Works much better using that form factor than a web browser..

  5. The Guardian in London does this pretty well, but only for some of their headlines. They have a headline and thumbnail picture, and when you mouse over it you get a short synopsys. See the right hand column at

    If they had a whole page like the NY Times done this way it would be great IMO.

  6. I find Tina Brown’s Daily Beast aggregator to have a nice format. Yes, photos draw you in much more effectively than text sometimes.

    And don’t miss Joachim Phoenix YouTube clip from recent Letterman show. At first I thought he was really cooked, but now I think it was an elaborate planned (brilliant) affair.

  7. Without pictures, I don’t find this to be an attractive reader at all. At least with their old website, they have a place to feature the articles they place more emphasis on. With this simply being text on a grid, I’m not inclined to click on any of them. Keep trying.

  8. This looks eerily similar to Newser, except not as good. Newser is easier and more entertaining to read.

  9. What really strikes me, and which has been noted elsewhere, is that this is format is so much more useful for quickly getting information than the front page of the NYT’s site and almost all other newspaper websites. Hopefully this will be the beginning of a new era of simpler, more readable web design for news.

  10. Imagine this interface as the front page of the New York Times:

    (Go to link: ENTER ARTSCOPE).

    Get in there with the magnifying glass and snoop around. Don’t be bashful. You won’t break anything. Imagine the “trigger” for each story was a photograph or illustration, and/or the first sentence of the Lead.

    Now THAT would change your feeling about “old timey newspapers” and bring some modern attitude to The Times. Old Grey Ladies don’t have to be boring and beige.

    They seem to be getting it with their photo feature interface lately, especially the “one in eight million” feature. Very nice and modern. But the text/story interface is still lagging behind a tad.

    I wish them the best. No one would want them to go away. (Except maybe Sean Hannity and Karzai).

  11. 1. Without images it lacks identity and focus.

    2. I’ve come to appreciate the NYT for the depth not brevity of the articles and this was a primary reason why I’ve switched from the BBC as my first port of call online for news. I don’t twitter and until recently any reference to dig sent me out into the garden looking for a shovel but I imagine that Article Skimmer will not present much of a challenge to these services. I dont really see the point and hope that the NYT puts the same amount of energy into maintaining and developing it’s strengths.

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