CNN is widely considered a reliable source for news. I was glad to see that their website continued this trend. At first glance, users see the CNN logo paired with their traditional red band across the top.
Room for improvement
This same approach was continued into their mobile website. Mobile CNN.com, slightly makes better use of its limited space by reducing the red band and converting it two useable buttons. These buttons, Latest News and Audio/Video, look good but are slightly useless. For one, you’re delivered by default to the Latest News section, making one think they’d replace the smaller top right Weather button with the Latest News button.
To further this, the second section – Audio/Video – is highly unorganized and seemingly slow. When you first load it up, you’re presented with a still screenshot of a video, and when you click this section you’re presented with another screen asking you to play the video. It would just make sense that they’d eliminate the play video step and just play the video when you click it. Additionally, when I typically browse the CNN site, I’m not on the world’s fastest internet connection, I’m usually on the go using 3G (4G is still rather sparse) so it’s rather irritating to have to load up and watch an advertisement before my video. CNN should really consider doing away with mobile video advertisements – stick to banner ads for mobile, there’s just not yet enough bandwidth to go around.
My last major critique is on their home page. When you load up the site, all you can see is an oversized image of their Latest News story; in my personal opinion, I feel many people would rather read the multiple story captions than see a single low quality picture. If they weren’t interested in losing the picture, they could eliminate its wacky rectangular shape, square it up, and make room for the pictures headline.
What It Does Best
But CNN mobile does do best what its known for – delivering news. Disregarding discrepancies with image sizes and buttons, the actual content within is of the same quality on the original site as is the mobile site. Often you’ll see companies cut down material for mobile web. CNN mobile has set up its content in a nice fashion; instead of loading the entire page at once, it distributes the articles into multiple sections, and offers, at the bottom, a choice to load the entire article. When you’re done reading, you can even select Next Article to move on.
Overall, it’s a useable mobile site with a full load of content. While some sections require a few additional clicks to navigate, for the most part you’re not restricted into shortened footage or articles. It’s a nice relief from having to navigate the full site to find what you need. If Mobile CNN fixed up their navigation buttons, eliminated the video advertisements, and reduced the repetitive clicks I think the site would be as good as it could get.