I have no intention of getting into politics — i just want to point out a site that continues to draw me back for repeat visits. RealClearPolitics is a news aggregator that’s been around since 2000 apparently, but which I discovered in the run-up to the 2008 Presidential election. In today’s hyper-partisan climate, it’s hard to find many sites that simply make it easy to keep up on current events with a balanced perspective.
This RealClearPolitics.com does by focusing on a couple of simple user experience premises: content and simple presentation. For the time that I’ve been visiting the site, the articles selected are chosen from right, left and center-leaning news sources ranging from such selections as Investors’ Business Daily and Weekly Standard on the right to Slate and the New York Times on the left. That alone is worthy of merit. Deeper review might include analysis of the site’s selection of polling numbers, its editorial content, and the percentage of articles from each side. My cursory evaluation of the site’s cross-section of polling numbers showed a wide enough variance to appear solid, and I’m not reading enough of the articles to comment on the site’s own editorials. All I know is that from my marginally-interested-observer perspective, the site gives me what appears to be a balanced cross-section of opinions and facts.
As for presentation, the site is relatively well organized and easy to figure out, and the links are provided in a plain yet readable format (much like the plain text link approach of Reddit.com). The site won’t win any Flash animation awards, but it’s not intended to. What the site aims to provide, it does in a fairly attractive, functional presentation. In a field where success in “web design” typically refers to the latest AJAX or Silverlight components, sometimes what makes a good product is an ordinary-looking site with quality content. Who knew?!