One of the more promising features in this week’s relaunch of CNN.com is NewsPulse, which surfaces popular content in a simple, user-friendly interface:
(Click on the screenshot above to see a larger image)
NewsPulse makes it easy for users filter popular news by time period (from 15 minutes to 30 days), section and content type (articles vs. video). How “popularity” is determined is not specifically defined but it is likely a simple metric like page views.
One aspect that CNN might want to rethink is the inclusion of “Total Comments” for each news item. Since many stories do not appear to allow comments this results in quite a few “popular” stories with zero comments which sends a mixed message to users:
NewsPulse is still in beta so there’s likely to be some changes based on user activity and input. CNN.com is soliciting user feedback by including a prominent survey link at the top of the page:
It will be interesting to see how NewsPulse changes user behavior on the site over time. It has the potential to increase the number of stories read per visit resulting in more page views and time on site. Part of it will depend on how deeply users are willing to drill down with the interface. Personally I think the potential upside makes it well worth experimenting with. And CNN.com has wisely maintained the typical section front structure for users that prefer to interact with the site in that way.