After the lunch hour, we'll help you relax a bit
January 26, 2004 3:01 AM   Subscribe

After the lunch hour, we'll help you relax a bit. Mood lit, time of day sensitive programming comes to your favorite local newspaper web portal. Will something like this fly? Has it been done before? Is this being done elsewhere now?
posted by crasspastor (16 comments total)
All I know is this blue makes me a bit sleeeepy....

posted by Space Coyote at 3:53 AM on January 26, 2004

I want my news source to tuck me in at night. (And a little cuddling would be ever so nice.)
posted by Opus Dark at 4:07 AM on January 26, 2004

This seems to me to be a forehead-smacker, like the dental floss right in the cap of the toothpaste. Why didn't this become procedural standard when mega-content sites first launched, one wonders?
posted by pineapple at 4:50 AM on January 26, 2004

a little more on dayparting, from a market research/consulting place.
posted by amberglow at 5:25 AM on January 26, 2004

A forehead smacker indeed . . .

But I don't think it will prove particularly successful if they go for a simple dayparting (thanks for teaching me that term amberglow) approach. Better that a site evolve gradually through the day with content ordered and colors tailored to match some external reality.

Imagine metafilter or boingboing merged with the Ambient Orb.

It has potential, and wouldn't be overly difficult to implement. Anyone want to help work up a beta?
posted by aladfar at 5:41 AM on January 26, 2004

I could see it now--the CNN site slate gray early in the mornings, and going peach in the afternoons : >

(dayparting is an old, old tv term--programming for the audience--soaps, gameshows, and talk shows in the middle of the day for the little women at home, news early in the morning and when the men would get home from work at dinnertime, etc--based on old but real usage patterns)
posted by amberglow at 6:04 AM on January 26, 2004

I don't know, it sounds pretty annoying to me. If I want news, I'll load up a news site. If I want to buy something, I'll load up a shopping site. If I want movie times, I load up a movie time site. I thought the idea of web portals was long since dead. Furthermore, I don't really want websites shifting their content based on some goofball prediction of what I'm interested in because of the time. There's something to be said for consistency.
posted by toothless joe at 6:08 AM on January 26, 2004

What toothless joe said. The portal concept is almost completely outdated. Compare to the Boston Globe. The former is updated constantly, but Globe reporters rarely file online like they do at the New York Times. The links to Globe articles on move around the page during the day, but the actual content is the same as the paper version and stays that way until 5 AM the next day. So your "portal" is really AP headlines and links to sponsored chat, shopping, and travel services. In other words, a cheap - and barely local, unless you follow the Pats religiously - knockoff of what Yahoo already does better.
posted by PrinceValium at 6:32 AM on January 26, 2004

I should add that although is good about maintaining its image as a news portal, it does so by hemorraghing money. It barely broke even last year, and it only did so because of substantial revenue from its archive retrieval service.
posted by PrinceValium at 6:35 AM on January 26, 2004

You have a point about tailoring content toothless, forcing users to accept some arbitrary ordering of information would be a bit irritating - especially for a strictly news based site.

But envision a more local interest web site - like The Morning News or Gapers Block that conveyed ambient information through subtle changes to the site itself. A javascript tied into basic sunrise and sunset information could be quite cool if done with subtlety and taste. Or perhaps a slight change on a design element that was tied to tidal information or traffic conditions. Could be interesting.

Especially as, unlike the Ambient Orb, one would apprehend this ambient data while simultaneously reading through traditional text based information. I think it presents some possibilities - provided, of course, that it's opt in and not forced on people.
posted by aladfar at 7:18 AM on January 26, 2004

The Spymac web site is trying something like this called Smart Time Sensitivy. Their implementation just seems a little cheesy and their write-up about it is more self-congratulatory than informative.
posted by josephtate at 10:24 AM on January 26, 2004

We know your interests change as the day rolls along
Not really, if tehey do I change websites or sections withing one, besides, do they know what time it is where I am at the moment? I go on the net from the weirdest places and the oddest times.
posted by dabitch at 12:50 PM on January 26, 2004

(Is tehey a real word? I could've sworn I spellchecked..)
posted by dabitch at 12:51 PM on January 26, 2004

well, toothless joe, there's something to be said for novelty, too. I change the look of one of my sites every season, in an effort to keep things interesting. I mean the same color blue background for years and years may be ok for some lazier web designers out there...

As far as altering color based on time of day -- not really the same thing, but on that same site, I display the list of most recent messages on the front page, with the newest messages appearing with a lighter background, and the ones with older responses going darker. My goal was to give some visual cues to the people who use my site about which messages were "fresher" than others, and to show older messages as sort of decayed. Can't say how successful the idea is, though.
posted by crunchland at 1:00 PM on January 26, 2004

hmm, websites change color and content for me as the day progresses proportion to how blurry my vision gets from staring at the screen continuously.
posted by juv3nal at 9:55 PM on January 26, 2004

The BBC darkens the colour of sections you regularly click on in the main page so they're easier to see. It's not quite the same as this, but it shows how colour is being used in new web designs.
posted by seanyboy at 5:50 AM on January 27, 2004

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