This blog post may be one of the easiest or the hardest to write in this series yet. Slate is kind of like a bad girlfriend (or boyfriend). You like to spend time with them, but the fact they leave their socks on the floor, laugh at inappropriate times and read trashy gossip magazines can drive you nuts!
I have expressed my frustration in the past with the fact I find Slate to be a bit too “busy,” which I think can sometimes distract from the really good things the site has to offer. I love the navigation buttons which clearly point you to Top Stories in each category. So why then do we need that separate grey box Special Features on the left side of the homepage? I would argue that we don’t, or that it should be someplace else. And what’s with all the white space on the right and later on the left side as you continue to scroll down?
OK, so now on to what I really like about Slate , namely the quirky stories and the sites stunning photography. For example, you probably won’t see this story on another website “Is the Print Dictionary Doomed?” As for the photography, with the exception of the New York Times, and sometimes NPR, I think Slate continues to set a very high bar. Having looked a bit more deeply at this I realize there is a partnership with the group Magnum Photos, but the stuff is just stunning! As I have mentioned ad-nauseum, it’s my favorite feature of the site.
So, is Slate forever destined to be that bad boyfriend, or girlfriend whose idiosyncrasies continue to distract from their better selves? I think that is exactly where Slate is right now. It knows its a media site and not a news site, but it can’t help trying to be both. That’s fine, but Slate editors realize you can still be quirky and fun without looking like such a mess. And oh yeah, pick up your socks!