Globe and Mail Degrades Readability

Globe and Mail newspaper is testing changes to their comments section. The existing font and style, left, is much more readable than the new and hip but less readable version, on the right.

Globe and Mail newspaper is testing changes to their comments section. The existing font and style, left, is much more readable than the new and hip but less readable version, on the right.

Leave it alone, sometimes, is the better option. Or the more vernacular “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The Globe and mail newspaper is testing changes to their comments system. They have decided to brighten up the icons, but instead of using black for text they have gone for grey. The grey, for me, is much more difficult to read. Maybe the use of grey will prompt for less comments.

The new version has brighter icons, the ones used to highlight the commenter’s name. The font colour is grey and contrast is not as high as the old version. Further the leading, or the space between one line of text and the other, seems excessive, making the comment longer than previous. This is a pain for desktop users but will be really annoying for smartphone users, who have little screen space to waste. Scrolling will be increased.

Please, please, Globe and Mail. I go to your site to read content, so help me out here. Make my reading easier, not harder. Web usability is important. I don’t mind the new and flashy, in moderation, but not at the expense of readability. Function over form, people.

Maybe I should write the editor and voice my concerns.

Globe and Mail newspaper is testing changes to their comments section. The existing font and style, left, is much more readable than the new and hip but less readable version, on the right.

Globe and Mail newspaper is testing changes to their comments section. The existing font and style, left, is much more readable than the new and hip but less readable version, on the right.

The old version, while conservative and a little boring, is easy to read. it has high colour contrast due to its simple black text on white background. The leading is just right. Only small tweaks could refresh it. Nothing else is needed.

It is interesting that only 4 days ago the CBC would discuss this very issue: The reduced brightness contrast of new web sites, and now we have a clear example. There are more academic discussions, referenced by the CBC.

Globe and Mail newspaper, comments, old version, is a tad conservative but very readable. I prefer readable over flashy.

Globe and Mail newspaper, comments, old version, is a tad conservative but very readable. I prefer readable over flashy.

Globe and Mail newspaper, comments, new version, is hip and flashy but less readable. I prefer readable over flashy.

Globe and Mail newspaper, comments, new version, is hip and flashy but less readable. I prefer readable over flashy.

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