CNET Gets Newsmaps

By | December 2, 2005

Without wanting to sound pompous, CNET may have taken my advice. A few months back (May 13, 2005) I wrote in a column (subscription only; non-subscribers will have to take my word for it or check out News Visualization posts in Loose Wire’s Design & Innovation section) that

to me it’s slightly daft that most news Web sites stick to an online format that someone wandering in from the mid-17th century would recognize. Newspapers haven’t changed an awful lot in layout since they first appeared. There’s good reason for this: It works. But why has the Internet, with all its interactive links, clicking, visuals, sounds and promise of customizing to the individual’s needs, not at least tried to reconsider the newspaper model — headline, pictures, text — in favor of something better?

One of my suggestions was the newsmap, as impressively demonstrated by Marcos Weskamp’s newsmap itself, and concluded that

I would love to see more experimentation like this until we stumble on a way to view news online that is more exciting than it is right now.

Well, CNET (thanks Robin) has obliged with their Hot page, which looks remarkably like Marcos Weskamp’s newsmap:


Click on the subject and the story pops up. The size of each block is determined by the story’s hotness — how many people have clicked on it. Excellently executed, and a great tool. Good for CNET. Hey, maybe they had the idea eons ago. Maybe they’ve been doing it for a while. But as my friend Robin says: “I can tell you where I first saw this technology…. on the looose wire blog!!!!!!!!!” Yeah!

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