Testing a new Consumer News website from CHOICE

Hi everyone,

We’re trialling a new way to deliver consumer news to you. And we’re showing it to you first because you are some of our most engaged, aware members and supporters.

At the moment, consumer news from CHOICE is delivered through our main website. If you go there you’ll find a few new stories on the home page, and many more accessible through the menu at top right.

As an alternative we now have a beta version of a straight chronological news feed, like a blog. It’s up at www.thebalance.news. It’s super simple, and not beautiful (at least yet), but it is fast.

We’d love to know what you think. Should we pursue this path? Should we add photography and if so what of? Videos? Should a news feed like this go on the home page, on a stand-alone site, or both? Should we include news from other consumer groups like the Consumer Action Law Centre?

Please take a look at The Balance and vote in the poll, and/or give us your more detailed thoughts below.

Thank you,


The Balance poll (select as many as you like)

  • Do more like this
  • Do less like this
  • Add photography
  • Add videos
  • News feed on CHOICE home page
  • Stand-alone news website
  • CHOICE news only
  • CHOICE news plus other consumer news

0 voters



  1. Include a search bar.
  2. Need to be able to sort by date, topic, etc
  3. Reduce the Headline font size quite a bit
  4. Reduce the blank space between boxes
  5. Increase the hyperlink selection zone to anywhere on the LHS box, not just the headline and read more.
  6. Instead of a generic “read more” link put what the link is to, eg story, review of one product, product test, etc. Perhaps even put several links if available.

Cut BACK on photographs and videos, my biggest hate with all existing news sites is the overwhelming quantity of photo & video media EVERYWHERE ! We just DO NOT need all this visual garbage, we do not need a photo or video with every single bit of text. Makes viewing web pages on a tablet or smartphone a total nightmare !


I like the layout because you can find things without spending a lot of time looking where your topic of interest might be, but actually following the topic path to the information you want. I did not spend any time reading how to use the site or try to work out some technical terminology that the topic may be listed under. I just thought of a topic of interest & followed the obvious path to my topic. :grinning:
As long as the pages are easy to read & all the information is true & correct by choice standards & the layout is not to cluttered I’m happy. I’m a strong believer in the KISS principle I was taught as an apprentice “Keep It Simple Stupid”.
My one big concern is that if you start bringing in or start linking to other news sites or consumer sites you will loose your independence to control outside influence on product results.
By that I mean other sites may have outside links or sponsorship by manufactures or corporations Chioce is unaware off thereby invalidating Choice’s independent unbiased results that I hold in such high regard.
Anyway I like the layout, don’t play with it to much for what its worth.
Regards Pegasus.


These are great suggestions.

“Read more” is bad accessibility design (screen reader users) and may be unnecessary as the heading is a link that describes the destination. I agree that the H2 font size is too big. I think that’s a result of designing for mobile but forgetting desktop - that’s happening more and more and I find it irritating. I just looked at it on my phone, and it was reduced to one story per screen, so that theory seems to be out the window. :unamused:

Hi @bronwastaken – thanks for letting us know! The design errors you’re seeing are just because we’re not done yet, and the feedback you’re giving us is exactly what we need. The New Things unit at CHOICE has a philosophy of launch and iterate. We can try to guess what will matter to people all we like, but the only way to really find out is to offer something, see how you respond, and be ready to change it.

If something will be hard to change then we deliberate – for example we started evaluating software platforms for CHOICE.community in February and chose Discourse for its power and flexibility. And we put a fair bit of configuration and design effort into it, but there are still things we missed. Here’s just a few:

  • Initially emails were sent from a weird noreply email address (fixed)
  • The site was not set to https (secure, encrypted) by default (fixed)
  • The banner colour was too low contract (fixed)
  • Topic titles are truncated – reported by @johnkerr (we’re looking into it – maybe just on mobile?)
  • Logo is too small on mobile (working on that now)

There will be more – but fortunately they’re all things we can fix, and we’re making a big effort to make those fixes quickly, because choice.community is popular. But to tell the truth, before we launched it we couldn’t be sure it would be.

The same is true of The Balance, only more so. Is there interest in a consumer news feed? If so, what should it include, how should it look, how should it work? So we launched, but quietly – no press releases have gone out, it’s not on the CHOICE home page yet. We’ve only told our choice.community members, because we want to know what you think. It’s gone out with a very rudimentary design, and that’s helping us understand what’s important to you. So far we’re hearing loud and clear that legibility and accessibility come first.

I’ll start by bringing down the size of those headlines, and work on a better approach to read more links.

So keep the feedback coming please – it’s exactly what we need.