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Every pop culture junkie is familiar with US Weekly Magazine. It was one of the original celebrity news magazines. It paved the way for many other media sources like it. The magazine itself amassed a large following. The website, which was published in 2006, made it accessible to even more readers. Millions of viewers access the site regularly to read the newest scoop.
Much like the original magazine, the website manages to keep reeling in millions of readers. The celebrity gossip, fashion news, videos, and other content are some of the reasons viewers return. The functionality of the site is another reason why the website has been so successful.
The website design of US Weekly is very professional. The logo is the same as the one they use in their magazine. It is distinct and instantly recognizable. The layout of the website heavily mimics the setup of the magazine.
The US does a wonderful job in making their website branded. From the moment viewers lay eyes on the site it is apparent it is the US brand. Further, it is difficult to make a website branded and clean at the same time. The crisp white background makes a wonderful base for the signature pink highlights.
Another great design feature is the organization and setup. The menus are clear and the sidebar is utilized nicely. The menu floats above everything as you scroll which eliminates the need to scroll upwards. The sidebar highlights the latest news the website posted. The flow of the website is good. Aesthetically, the visuals are pleasing. The headlines are intriguing and reinforce the engagement of readers.
The content available on US Weekly is varied. The primary focus of the website is celebrity news. However, there are topics like fashion, entertainment, royals, moms, food, pets, podcasts, video, and others.
The news section of the website focuses on celebs and their latest escapades. There are uplifting headlines, as well as break-up rumors. Some titles of articles on the page are “Leondardo Dicaprio Saves Man From Drowning” and “Harry Styles Watched a Dog While Its Owner Ran Into a Restaurant.” This section also includes a photo gallery of Hollywood’s Ugliest Divorces.
Another section of the website is the Moms category. In this portion, the site focuses on pregnant celebrities and mothers. There are baby bump photo galleries of the Golden Globes and other award shows. Aside from baby updates and sneak peeks at nursery rooms, there is a hall of fame list and photo of baby bumps.
US Food is a portion of the website that hosts articles pertaining to celebrities cooking, their kitchens, and favorite foods. Recipes are a fun read. The diversity of food articles is plentiful. There are as many celebs who love fast food posts as there are celeb diet lists.
Desktop & Mobile Accessibility
The desktop browser version of US Weekly is almost flawless. The branding is great. The website layout is clean and consistent. The flow of the article placements melds together well, encouraging the reader to keep scrolling.
The mobile browser version of the website is slightly harder to navigate than the desktop. The scrolling is difficult because of the ads. The text is significantly smaller and harder to read. Another issue is the advertisements. On the desktop version, the scale of the ad is not very large compared to the rest of the website. On the mobile browser, the ad is a lot larger and hard to get around to read the website’s material.
The app version of US Weekly is not exactly optimized for mobile viewing. The website is free to read. However, the app requires viewers to pay $5.99 per issue. It’s confusing that they would offer similar and possibly the same content on a webpage for free.
An amazing part of the US Weekly website is that the content is available for free. The company still sells magazines in store, but the website undoubtedly gets more viewers. It is a great source for entertainment news.
The branding of the website is consistent. It is nice to be able to recognize a website from its logo and signature colors. US Weekly does a great job of conveying these things without looking messy.
A great feature of the website is its organization. The layout flows perfectly to keep the reader engaged. The format encourages viewers to keep scrolling. There are a lot of backlinks in the articles themselves, as well. The backlinks are placed properly and equally interesting.
There are only a few advertisements on the webpage. Most of them pertain to the magazine and the website, so that makes them more bearable. On the desktop version, there is a singular medium-sized ad directly above the header. It is easy to dismiss the ad and continue reading.
A very small complaint I have about US Weekly’s website is the incredibly long home page feed. The website is a WordPress website, so this is a common theme among them. However, at some point, readers want to see the bottom of the page. It is difficult to get to things like Contact Us and FAQs with the endless scrolling. This problem really only occurs on the main home page. With the category pages, it is easier to get to the bottom.
The menu is set up nicely, but I wish there were subcategories. Instead of lumping all celebrity news into one category it would be nice to be able to filter them by movie stars, tv stars, musicians, etc. Another subcategory that could be nice would be a positive or negative filter that could suss out good deeds or poor choices made.
Although the advertisements are sparse, they are still an annoyance. One of the worst issues I ha with the website was the advertisements suddenly popping up and blaring sound from a video. It is startling and interrupts reading experiences.
My biggest issue with the US Weekly website is its mobile viewing. In this day and age, an app or even an optimized mobile browser is a must-have for all websites. For such a notable name in the entertainment industry, I was very disappointed with this aspect of US.
The mobile browser did not function properly because of the advertisements. As I tried to scroll down the website the ads popped up and I was instead directed to those websites. When it comes to the application, there is not a very good one in place that functions in the same way the website does. The only apps are for selling their magazines. It would be nice to see US design an app that works similarly to its website and provides a sense of community.
There are a few improvements that US Weekly Magazine could implement to better suit viewers’ needs. One of the most important improvements that could be made would be designing a good app. A solid app would drive even more traffic to their brand.
I’m thankful US does not use very many advertisements on their website, but they are still problematic. The mobile browser is close to non-functioning because of the pop-ups. If app designing isn’t in the cards for the company, updating the mobile browser would be a great improvement as well.
Finally, a small but meticulous suggestion I have is to implement subcategories. It could help readers filter through the material a little easier. It would take a lot to make that change, but it could be a major positive if completed. Summary There are positives and negatives when it comes to US Weekly Magazine’s entertainment website. The magazine is well-known and has millions of readers. The translation from the magazine to the website is great. However, the lack of mobile viewing support is frustrating.
The content is varied and unique. Some of the titles are off the wall but are eye-catching nonetheless. The categories from the main menu are good, but sub-categories would be even better. Overall, US Weekly Magazine is your run of the mill celeb gossip site. In terms of entertainment news, it falls somewhere in the middle.