CNN.com is a very well planned website.
As you can see in the example above, the lines on this site are very clean. The sections are beautifully and simply colored. At the very top of the page, there is a black bar that informs the user which version of CNN.com he is using. In this case, we are viewing the U.S. Edition. Below that section there is a red bar displaying CNN’s logo and a few options for changing the settings and what content is displayed.
The next row is divided into three columns. The first column features a large image from an occupy protest. Below that, there are links to other stories about the occupy protests. And below that there are stories about the Penn State scandal. Those are some of the top stories right now.
The second column is a large picture of a person’s fingers crossed behind his back. The topic of the story is “How to Spot A Lie.” This story is engaging to the sense of sight and to the user’s curiosity.
The third column features a large full color advertisement for Audi. The ad is very noticeable, but not obtrusive. Below that, there’s a login area and some options for social networking. And even further down the column, there is a listing of the most popular stories of the day.
This layout is very clean and easy to peruse. Users who know what they’re looking for will very quickly find it using the search bar at the top of the page. Users who are looking for today’s top stories will discern those quickly as well. The layout for this page is very simple in a very useful way.
Further down the page, stories are subdivided into categories like World, Business and Tech. These stories are easy to examine by subject.
Note the sponsored links section on the far right side. It isn’t immediately apparent that these are ads. One might question the ethics of hiding ads like these in with the articles, but the the style in which these are written is noticeably different. Also, all the other links feature blue texts for the full content. So, it should be somewhat discernible that these are not feature news stories.
Overall, I believe CNN’s website is very well designed for use.