24 Jan 2023


Comparing and Contrasting Two Websites

Format: APA

Academic level: College

Paper type: Essay (Any Type)

Words: 909

Pages: 3

Downloads: 0

Since the invention of the internet in the 1960s, where scientists used to share knowledge, the platform has exhibited revolutionary changes that have eased communication between computers. Previously, the internet was limited to the department of defense and other limited organizations which was subscribed to the package. It was not until 1983 when the internet gained track, and new protocols such as the transfer control protocol (TCP) was established and paved the way for new programming languages such as HTML and CSS that were used to develop websites. This paper will compare and contrast two online newspaper websites, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, to determine their adherence to four web design principles; proximity, contrast, alignment, and repetition. In this age, where people adopt the internet as their primary communication tool and source of information, the importance of websites has significantly increased. It is used for news and transactional purposes such as eCommerce websites and social platforms such as Facebook. Therefore, while designing websites, web designers should adhere to the four principles of design, proximity, alignment, contrast, and repetition, to achieve their specific goals. 

According to the principle of contrast, if two items are not the same, they should be different from each other. In the New York Times website, contrast is exhibited through images and graphical elements to focus on important news. On the contrary, the Wall Street Journal uses larger fonts, different colors, and graphic elements such as graphs to create interests and simplify the organization structure. While each online news magazine has its methods of attracting visual attention to the readers, both use images. There is always no rule for setting contrast on a web page, but the fundamental principle is to achieve visual attraction that makes the web page stand out. Both magazines use different fonts, images, and colors to make important news stand out, which makes them conform to the universal principle of contrast in web design. 

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Figure 1: Image screenshot from the New York Times showing the application of the principle of contrast. 

Figure 2: Image screenshot from the Wall Street Journal showing how contrast has been applied to create a visual appeal to readers. 

The repetition principle of web design is critical to provide a consistent user experience. For example, in both online magazines, logos are consistently repeated on every page and at the navigation bar's top center position. Repetition and consistency make users more comfortable by keeping users familiar with the design element. Other elements repeated are fonts, colors, and images. For example, in the New York Times, the designers have consistently repeated the image element at the web page's opinions column. Similarly, the Wall Street Journal also uses images consistently on the home page to bring about familiarity and importance. However, the Wall Street Journal uses one element repetitively that the New York Times magazine. It utilizes a sticky bottom footer as a call to action menu. It prompts users to subscribe to their mailing list to catch up with the latest news about the elections. 

Figure 3: Image screenshot from the New York Times shows how the organization has repeatedly used its homepage image element. 

Figure 4: Image screenshot from the Wall Street Journal showing repetitive use of image elements. 

The principle of alignment advocates that nothing on a web page should be placed arbitrarily. This means that every item on the page should have a visual connection with something else within the page. While designing websites using the alignment principle, designers need to use something that organizes a sophisticated page into a visually appealing website. While both the New York Times and the wall street journal uses graphical line elements to align content in the footer section of their webpages, they use different alignment styles in their pages' content. The wall street journal center aligns its main topic while the New York Times align its top news on the left. 

Figure 5: Screenshot from the New York Times showing the application of the principle of alignment. 

Figure 5: Screenshot from the Wall Street Journal showing the application of the principle of alignment. 

Finally, the proximity principle of design focuses on the clarity of the organization on the homepage. Items related to one another are placed close to each other to appear as one optical unit, not different unique items. The power of proximity comes into play when readers go through the content on the web pages. It creates a more robust organizational structure that is more visually appealing and helps readers to retain information ( Cosgrove, 2018) . Both online magazines use proximity to the main navigation menu to categorize their news. In the New York Times, the main menu is categorized into politics, US, science, sports, health, travel, and so much more. The categorization guides the readers on contents based on their interests. For example, all news and articles related to politics within the US and other important regions in the world are posted in the politics category. The same applies to technology, science, and other categories within the website. The Wall Street Journal also has the same categorization though slightly different from the New York Times. The main bar has a drop-down menu for other subcategories within the same category. 

Figure 7: Screenshot from the New York Times showing the application of the principle of proximity in their navigation bar. 

Figure 7: Screenshot from the Wall Street Journal showing the application of the principle of proximity in their navigation bar. 

Designers should include design principles in their content before users start to engage with their content on a web page. These principles accommodate users' needs and help them interact with what the organization has to offer ( Turan & Şahin, 2017) . Successful websites require designers to get the basics right in the first instance. Even though people might have different opinions about the website, those polar opinions will eventually converge to a great web design when the four fundamental principles are followed correctly. Therefore, while designing websites, web designers should follow the basic principles and apply other technique s to bring out contrast, repetition, proximity, and alignment. 


Cosgrove, S. (2018). Exploring usability and user-centered design through emergency management websites: advocating responsive web design.  Communication Design Quarterly Review 6 (2), 93-102. 

TURAN, B. O., & ŞAHİN, K. (2017). Responsive web design and comparative analysis of development frameworks.  The Turkish Online J. Des. Art Commun 7 (1), 110-121. 

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