What counts more than design in attracting an online news audience?

As I laid out on Wednesday, there seems to be no discernible correlation between the overall quality of a web site and how much time readers spend there.

In the heydays of printed newspapers, we had some similar anomalies: newspapers with terrible designs (as judged by the designer elite) would have market penetrations equally strong as those following the latest design trends and gimmicks.

So what keeps eyeballs on sites, once they’ve landed there? Here are some recent views of interest:

Phil at 1918.com has a nice post building on Dave Brubeck’s breakout “Take Five”, raking over the coals the lackluster site of the News & Observer (once an internet pioneer), and agreeing with my conclusion that it’s not really about design:

Continue reading this post at Nieman Journalism Lab.

One Comment

  1. Phil Buckley said:

    Thanks for mentioning my post, it took me a while to finally just blurt it out.

    As a co-worker reminds me, 100 years of newspaper tradition is hard to push against everyday, but it’s a tug-o-war worth having.

    June 26, 2009

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