As a big fan of our national broadcaster, Iâ€™ve always been vaguely disappointed by the ABCâ€™s online presence. It just didnâ€™t seem to offer any reason to go there. Iâ€™m happy to say that this is no longer the case. The ABC has added some very slick and useful features to its website, which should make the ABC a very popular source of online news, particularly for the tech-savvy. Let's have a look at some of the new features of ABC news online.Visiting http://www.abc.net.au/news/ youâ€™re greeted by a list of Hot Tags. If you mouse over the different tags, youâ€™ll see a red â€œ+â€ and a green â€œ-â€œ next to each one â€“ you can easily click them to make a list of news categories you care about in My Tags. You can access My Tags from the lefthand side of the front page. The siteâ€™s cookied, so if youâ€™ve visited before, youâ€™ll probably find a few categories that youâ€™d already visited have been added to your personalised My Tags.
If you click on one of the tags that interests you, it takes you to a page which shows you the most recent stories with that tag, e.g. government and politics.
Now this looks lovely and clean, but you have so many options of what you can do here. As you can see from the screenshot, there are tabs for video, audio and photo â€“ so you can quickly scroll through and watch the latest video news, or see photos relevant to the stories.
Along with clicking to â€œAdd to my tagsâ€, the RSS feature allows you to create tag-specific RSS feeds of news stories. The Map feature has embedded Google Maps, so you can look at a map of Australia for each tag category, and click on a location to see the stories about that place.
While you're looking around the ABC News site, itâ€™s worth visiting the Tag Library for a look at the Tag Cloud, a really pretty and useful barometer of whatâ€™s making news in Australia.
The ABC's got an online tour of their new features, which includes a short video. You can access it here http://www.abc.net.au/news/help/tour.htm.
They're also soliciting feedback on the changes to site, and you can win a $70 voucher for the ABC shop, so there's another carrot to go check out the news site. :)
When I was living in the UK circa 2000, the BBC online was the UKâ€™s most popular website â€“ people loved their Beeb, and the Beebâ€™s website. Iâ€™m happy to say that with the enhancements the ABC has made to their news website, they certainly deserve to be as popular. Kudos, Auntie. ïŠ