The Huffington Post website has things that are really good about it, but there are also things that make usability somewhat difficult.
The Huffington Post’s main website starts with a leading story on top and then the page is broken into 3 columns. One of my main dislikes about the website is that you can’t read a summary or part of the article on the main page. The user either has to click on the article, or hover over the picture to click on “Quick Read” which opens a small window on your browser. It would be nice if you didn’t have to interrupt your scrolling or leave the page you were on, before deciding if you wanted to actually read the article.
The homepage of the website has interesting features like updating itself every few minutes, so you will always have access to the most breaking stories. However, there is so much information on the page, that it can become distracting. For example, as you scroll down the page more stories load as you go and there are animated gifs that play automatically as you scroll past them. Separately, these elements are interesting and can add to the user experience of the page, but when they are used all together a person can become overwhelmed and want to leave the site.
Just about everything on the home page is clickable. You can click the pictures, headlines and comment section under each post. There is even a category attached to each story that you can click on to see all related articles on that topic.
Overall, I think the page follows Krug’s criteria on some level but deviates from it as well. There isn’t a clear hierarchy on the page in terms of importance. An article about “What it’s really like to be Celibate” is right next to a political article about “Feds Pushing Seniors into Poverty With Aggressive Tactics”. I would also say there is a lot of noise on the homepage, just a lot of over kill on graphics and the amount of stories cramped on to the homepage.
If you were going to use The Huffington Post’s website, I would suggest going to one of the sections: Black Voices, Gay Voices, Sports, Crime, etc…and navigating to the article you want to read.