Why the 5-item header/hero is better
In the following I will discuss, why I prefer the smaller, 5-item header on The Verge's front page.
Right now, the huge 7-item header takes up my whole screen. Literally my whole screen. I can't even read The Big Story right below the header - and I have a 1440*900 screen, more pixels than the typical 1366*768 screen. The problem is focus. I have no idea, on which tile I should focus my eyes, they just begin swiveling around the whole page and I always end up reading every tile, every time I visit The Verge. And I visit The Verge a lot.
And I hate it to read headlines more than once. This may sound absurd, but it literally takes me half a minute to figure out, what is going on. The huge header is too big for my eyes to gather all information with one look.
Now, just the smaller size of the 5-item header makes it much easier for me to grab the information from the header.
I know, where to look.
And, I hate to bring it up in these forums, but just take a look at Engadget's header. Their's is way smaller and with one look, my eyes have focused on these five black boxes. I know, where to look on Engadget, although their site is more cluttered than The Verge. They have these constantly changing header banners and totally distracting ads for their Apps, Distro and their Show on the right side. But I know, where to look for information.
This is, why I propose to switch over to the 5-item layout more often, just like in the beginning. Now, you may argue that there are way too many good and important articles on The Verge to fit in a 5-item layout. I suggest you to take a look at today's header:
What I propose to The Verge team is focus. Focus on the important stories: Breaking News first, then the features. So, if I would transform this header into a 5-item one, I would keep the Kindle and IFA Storystreams, because they are undoubtedly important. Then, the three editorials (iPhone 5, Acer S7, Pinch-to-zoom) would be the last ones to join the header, because they are technical.
90 Seconds in the header? Really? This is soo wrong. The Verge could make a Hub, a Trending Topic or just fit 90 seconds permanently in the article stream. But the header is arguably the wrong place for a daily series to be.
Where to fit the feature from Bryan Bishop? I don't want to discriminate his amazing work, but this feature just doesn't fit with the News from IFA. And this is what I mean with focus: Focus on IFA, focus on CES, always give your header a main topic.
Now, where would I place the amazing Verge features, then? Turns out, there are many possible places for them to be: "You need to read this now", where many of the editorials would fit, too (like the other three editorials in the header) or the prominent spot where 5 minutes on the Verge was and where the latest reviews are now. This would be an awesome spot for features: Wide, bright, colorful... And lastly, features would fit into the "popular features" box at the bottom, or The Verge could replace the "Most recent galleries" with a horizontal list of features. Why not?
I would like to hear what you think about my proposal and The Verge's front page in general!