Q&As about: The Home Page

In this post, I’ll share with you some answers to questions PressDisplay.com users asked about our home page. Feel free to suggest other questions for this post and we’ll do our best to answer them. Also, don’t forget to check out the help files on PressDisplay.com related to this area.

1. What’s the difference between Editors’ Picks and Readers’ Choice?

In 2006, we introduced “article ranking” in PressDisplay.com. Top stories on our home page were determined by an algorithm which measured how long people actually spent reading an article. We didn’t measure how many clicks a story received, because people may click on a story because of its title and then abandon it when they see that the story isn’t interesting for them.

And we didn’t just measure the value of a story by what an editor thought should be a top story (typically those stories on the front page of papers, with big fonts, pictures and continuing on internal pages, etc).

We measured the length of time people actually spent reading each article in PressDisplay.com and then assigned a rank to that article. We show the rankings using small green cells beside each article. Notice the story shown below has ranked 4 out of 5 – an interesting story, according to 0ur readers.

Article Ranking in PressDisplay.com

We award 5 green cells for the most interesting stories – i.e those stories that retained readers’ interest the longest.

Then every 10 minutes we recalculate the article rank based on latest reader data we have received and refresh the home page so you always know which stories our readers enjoyed the most.

Today we also offer a feature which allows readers to choose if they want to see what editors picked as the top stories of the day OR what other readers actually thought were the most interesting stories OR a combination of both.

A new control has been added to the top right corner of PressDisplay.com. Here’s what it looks like:

Readers versus Editors

Just use the red sliding bar to choose which perspective you want (Readers’ Choice……Editors’ Picks) and then use the green slide bar to apply your choice to your news sources (All sources…… My Newspapers).

I think you’ll be surprised to see how different the two views can be. And don’t forget if you want to see what the top stories were from the different perspectives for each of the last 7 days, just use the calendar control at the top of the display under the headline ticker tape control to select a different day.

Back Issues in PressDisplay

2. Why do I see mostly English stories even though I’ve selected multiple languages to show the news in?

All the stories that appear on the home page of PressDisplay.com, including top stories, business stories, sports stories, entertainment, etc are based on what a user chooses as his sources for the home page and whether he wants to see editors’ picks or readers’ choice stories (or a combination).

If the highest ranked stories by editors or readers are mostly English stories (and English is one of the languages you selected), then you’ll see more English stories than stories in other languages. In fact, often you may only see English stories on the home page. This is not too surprising given the number of English newspapers we carry and the popularity of the articles in them.

If you want to see stories in other languages (other than English), then just de-select English and refresh your display. Stories in your other languages are sure to appear.

3.  How are stories picked for the home page?

I recently saw an email into our Customer Support group questioning our implementation of our home page and the selection of articles that appear.  Here’s what a customer shared with us:

 “I’ve just resumed my Press Display subscription and I’m really enjoying the unlimited plan.  But I question your news judgment on the website’s front page.  How do you pick the stories?  I have it set to “all sources” and “editor’s picks”, but I see nothing about the day’s most important story from my viewpoint, the California fires.  You’d see that story on most of your own newspaper’s front pages, and you have excellent coverage from the Los Angeles Times, but there’s nothing on your front page about it.  Instead you are highlighting a provincial political story from Alberta.

In sports, it’s opening day of the World Series, which I would think is worth a mention on the home page, but instead you have highlighted day-to-day hockey stories.  You have the Boston Herald from one of the home cities, and a Colorado paper from a medium sized city, but nothing to point readers to those papers.  I know you are Canadian-based, and I have no problem with Canadian news.  Many of “My Newspapers” are Canadian.  But I doubt that you intend your front page to be so narrowly focused on Canada.  It could be a lot more useful and inviting to the Press Display service if it took a broader view.”

First, let me thank this subscriber for his frank and helpful comments.   I am pleased to say that, as a result of this request and a few others we received asking for more customization features for the home page, we are going to add Country to the list of My Sources, thus filtering news even further to meet the needs of readers.  For new visitors to PressDisplay.com, who haven’t selected a country, we will display content based on their IP address by default, until they make a different selection.

I hope this helps.  Thanks for all your product suggestions.  Please keep them coming!