I click on things by accident, I have trouble scrolling on some websites, sometimes the text is too small and crammed into a column that is too small for it, pop-ups and strange noises happen constantly.
I too would like it if more web documents were available as simply formatted blocks of text and pictures, with links that I didn't accidentally click constantly.
Another tip for helping people with slow internet: don't break your article into multiple pages! I think the primary reason for doing this to get more ad traffic, but I promise I will leave when I see that your list of ten items is separated into ten pages.
Problem is many apps have universal binaries now so you can't force the lower-res (larger touch target) UIs.
I too would like it if more web documents were available
as simply formatted blocks of text and pictures, with
links that I didn't accidentally click constantly.
Safari on iOS is my typical example: Click on link by accident, notice your mistake, go back to original page, Safari does a full reload. If you have no network you can't continue reading. Why can't Safari cache the page and allow quick navigation, like any desktop browser?
I realise that in those situations I just have to click fast twice, so that the second click takes place before scripts have been loaded - but I'm sure Betty does not know that.
Oh, that's why rapid clicking works! Funny how for some problems I only want a solution and don't bother at all thinking about how it works.
The FT is a good example, the site is unreadable for me. So I no longer visit it.
Fortunately the only story I read there is available on its own page (hpmor.com).
Yep, it is something of a throwback to resistive screens. But with resistives at least there was a distinction between resting the finger on the screen, and interacting with a on-screen object.
This still wouldn't be enough for people with diseases that cause major tremors, but I'd imagine it's enough for people who have lost fine motor control, because we're only trying to distinguish pushing from not-pushing.
Additionally, human touch sensation is incredibly good in the fingers, hypothesized to be related to our use of tools. That we can at all use such a touch screen is a miracle in the animal kingdom. Replacing this is not possible at this point in time as we age. However, larger and more clear buttons will help, along with a training period and good motivation for the person. As we age, we need to have the motivation to access the world and the opportunity to do so. The future requires all participants of every age.
A good place to start on the sources is here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2563781/ . Let me know if you want a .pdf and cannot access the site past the abstract.
Chimpanzees can also use touch screens:
Skip to 15:52 if you want to go straight to the one playing Pac-Man.
 - http://313e5987718b346aaf83-f5e825270f29a84f7881423410384342...
I think this also leads back to the idea that the touchscreen as a user interface is absolutely awful in every way except for the one huge advantage of its reconfigurability. (I forget the source for this, but there's a specific article I'm thinking of.)
Go through the products available at a site like sparkfun or adafruit and tell me you couldn't make some awesome customization control panel system? Larger buttons for smartphone-specific functions, some with their own small (and low-cost) discrete display perhaps?
I've been wanting this for twenty-five years.
There are things that do some of this, but not very well, and not very cost-effectively. There is software that simulates this on a touchscreen (grr). Anyone fancy a hardware startup?
How about forgetting the electronics, and seeing controllers as just another UI problem. Software, implemented in plastic.
What would you want to build if it were that easy? Custom controllers for games? Custom games? MIDI Instruments? Dashboards with physical elements? Home / media center controls? POS interfaces? Hardware usability testing prototypes? Kitchen gadgets?
Maybe I'd be the only market, but I think it would be a big blurring of the line between hacker and maker culture.
Pressure displays (2009): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Smai_Z_galE . I can't believe they didn't attempt to build "pixels" of some kind though. More recently, a lot of ultrasound tech (2014): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaoO5cY1aHk . Tangible displays from MIT (2013): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvtfD_rJ2hE .
I could see any of this being feasible for interacting in a non-mobile setting (car,desktop) with some adjustments.
Also those relegendable knobs and sliders are very popular in the music industry already 0 - so it would be fairly trivial to bring it to a consumer device.
That's a big feature IMHO. My use of the car radio is essentially to toggle it from AUX to BT. Integration of my phone would be even nicer.
Same thing with volume controls, used to be dials now it's buttons. Maybe I just like dials.
I see learning UI in computers as a process that begins with a new user having basic UI concepts explained to him, and then just following the changing trends, where a new trend usually makes "affordances" refer to the previous trend.
Edit: Just realized we are talking about websites here. Sorry, forget what I said!
(You can try to invent your own UI cue to take the place of the underline, of course, but then the user has to learn a new cue for each separate site, whereas the underline is still common enough for people to have already learned it somewhere else.)
If web designers could actually stop and think about the virtual things they do in physical terms they might be able to see how foolish they're being, but I don't expect that to happen any time soon.
I must confess I've been guilty of it too. I 'invented' a style of link whereby the link has a border on all four sides and is filled with a transparent pastel. I've even seen this around some (apparently it is kind of an obvious idea). But all in all, I've gotten away from trying to invent my own UI.
Damn you flat ui!
The whole point of going with raised buttons and such was to provide a visual cue as to what was clickable. It seems UI people who missed the early 90's are getting to relearn this lesson. When I saw flat I just shook my head.
I'll never understand why these designer types think that discarding all of that context is a good thing.
I'm thoroughly convinced I'm correct, but have no data to back it up.
Count me in!
This happened to me, I went from ios 5 to 8. I had to google "where is spotlight ios 8" to learn to swipe down.
What would I have done if I were a novice user who didn't know spotlight existed? I might not have found it for months.
"The design of the iPhone software was entirely informed by the fact that this was a new experience, it was nothing like using an existing smartphone, nor anything like using a Mac or Windows PC. It needed training wheels to get people up to speed. Thus, to name one small example, why iOS buttons have tended to look so very button-y. To inform the user, as clearly as possible, that this is a button that can be tapped.
Look around you. Any street corner. Any office. Any shopping mall. Any restaurant. You will see people tapping on touchscreens. We all get it now. iOS-style computing is no longer novel; it is now the standard interaction model for personal computing.
The primary problem Apple faced with the iPhone in 2007 was building familiarity with a new way of using computers. That problem has now been solved. It is time to solve new problems."
The latest UI trends to remove "button style" and go to "flat" and just text is a prime example of how we've gone the wrong direction.
This is how the news site makes their money and the reason why it's free to view the articles. Betty needs to purchase a subscription to view articles ad-free (if the sites she browses offer it)
Although, one potential option for someone like Betty is SmartNews https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.gocro.smart... That app offers a "SmartView" which scrapes the news sites they link to and provides text-only versions of the articles.
The reason is the same as in print: ad revenues generally bring in much more than subscriptions do. Here's some data for the newspaper business, for instance: http://ajr.org/2014/02/27/big-shift-reliance-reader-payments... You can see how even with the collapse of newspaper advertising over the last decade, ad revenue is still generally somewhere from 50-70% of overall revenue. So ad revenue is critical, even for subscription pubs.
This is even more true online, because if you make your publication ad-free for subscription users, you're cutting the ads off from the eyeballs the advertisers want most -- the eyeballs of engaged, frequent readers/viewers/whatever, since those are the very people who care enough to buy subscriptions. So doing so drives down the overall value of advertising in your publication.
> The reason is the same as in print: ad revenues
> generally bring in much more than subscriptions do
Now Betty needs to "login" to her news site every time in order to disable the ads (not to mention pay, and renew service each term) I don't think that will improve the process, and it ad more steps with potentially confusing instruction to her process. Even if the site was able to store along term cookie for Betty, I doubt the sublt difference between versions would do much as there is typically a lot of other "junk" (around the article) that can distract the user.
In practice, of course, Betty will do neither of these things; she'll just use the same username and password everywhere. So then it's just a matter of time until a hack on one of the sites she visits opens her up to all kinds of new problems.
Username/password authentication is so, so utterly broken.
The main issue is how do news websites make money? Other than spamming us with ads, which itself has low ROI, no news website has been able to figure a good solution. And if you point to sites like NY Times, ask yourself first if they are really succeeding if they also didn't spam us with ads too...
Even worse is when an add overlays the entire page and I can't click around it. It's infuriating.
And in this article I think their ageism lead to a logical failure: they say the number of old people is growing, as if people are losing their abilities as they age (which is of course true but not really relevant to "have you chosen to learn to use computers"). Amusingly, they similtaensously make this logical error and acknowledge it by saying eventually all old people will be digital natives... But in the meantime the population is growing.
"Our A/B testing shows that this design increases ad clicks by statistically significant amount"
I once went to the Amazon.com homepage and counted the number of clickable regions on my screen. The total was over 100. Practical navigation with such an interface is impossible without a highly trained mental/visual filter. Those who have developed such a filter find it easy. Those who haven't, suffer. Those who can't, suffer endlessly.
So throw a typical web interface in front of people with certain kinds of troubles with attention or sensory processing, and you get a disaster.
And even without those troubles, and with the mental filter, how often do you click the wrong thing? Be honest. Pretty often, I'd say.
And then there are the intentional distractions. I've been webbing since '93. I have never had a problem with ads, per se. I've never run Adblock. But I always run Flashblock. Without it, much of the web is a chaotic mess of blinking, beeping nonsense. The future creeping toward us -- with HTML5+JS animations everywhere while I'm trying to read -- is scary indeed.
So think about the ideas in this post for all of us, not just for Betty.
I recently got my dad an Android One device. He lives in semi-urban India and has never had a smartphone before. I installed WhatsApp and Skype and watched him interact and find his way through.
Most of the functions/idioms we take for granted were totally unintuitive to him. Some of the examples:
* After opening a chat, how to type when there's no keyboard visible? There is no way to know that touching the text area brings up the keyboard.
* After typing and pressing enter, how to send the message? The traingular 'airplane' icon didn't make sense to him.
* How to access settings and hamburger menus?
I wish there comes a time where UX designers stop quarreling over flat vs skeuomorphic and focus on real usability.
The interface should be appropriate and accessible, but it shouldn't make life harder for the normal user in order to onboard neophytes. I think it's reasonable to expect users to get some minor training - after all, what might signify 'next' to a semi-urban Indian might be utterly meaningless to an an elderly recluse in Poland or a scatterbrain in Argentina. Expecting to come up with a universal UI that onboards neophytes with zero training is probably a bit much.
Accessibility is for everyone, not just people with "special needs".
I have little visibility into this field, but it strikes me as one with an awful lot of people stretching their self-description. Even amongst the hard core practitioners (UCD/HCI/human factors people), there are many charlatans who cargo cult.
I use the NPR news app on my phone, and rarely encounter an ad. Nice benefit is that most of the stories have narrated audio if she wants to switch modes.
And the CBC doesn't help its public perception (who have the power to advocate for increased funding) when they give leeway to their stars like Jian Ghomeshi and Amanda Lang that would be unacceptable in other companies.
And it's even considering selling it's Toronto HQ amid staff reductions and budget cuts.
My point? Enjoy CBC while it lasts. Because in a decade or so, it may not even close to comparable to the likes of NPR, BBC, et al.
If you're in a position to suggest, let people donate to NPR to get a version of the app that never shows ads as their reward.
I noticed mine recently started very occasionally showing ads down on the bottom, but surely the ad revenue from delivering them to a single person is smaller than the amount a typical NPR listener will donate (if they donate at all).
If Betty wants the news without all the ads and redirects and other things you list, she can subscribe to any number of publications that will provide ad-free/redirect free content. For a fee.
The Newsstand applications for both of those publications seem remarkably un-terrible, compared to their mobile websites. I agree that many news websites, even the mainstream ones, seem full of booby traps, and that it is a problem in general — just that there does seem to be a solution for this specific case.
Also interesting: moisture in hands helps with scrolling. As you age, moisture decreases.
The problem with the links to previous articles is that clicking on them (accidentally or not) takes you to the NYT website. Suddenly you start getting the regular annoyances without it being obvious what you did wrong, and you are not automatically logged in so you will also begin getting notifications about using up your allowed number of free articles.
While I think it's honorable to use better designs to solve real problems for real people, I think we much too often attribute age as a factor in both understanding and operating technology. It's just not. Eyesight, dexterity, lucidity, etc. are factors that may change with age, but don't assume that means you can design for an age bracket. Design for color blindness, shitty internet connections or what have you, but not age. It's stupid, judgemental, and a waste of time.
The problem of confusing pages that trick you into clicking ads - which, as has been pointed out, is an issue for many non-elderly people as well - is not one of usability ignorance. It's a calculated business decision.
I do it with uBlock:
So perhaps it’s simply a browser or setting to always use the Reader view.
And, fwiw, Medium is doing essentially this. Perhaps ads, which hurt usability in obvious and non-obvious ways, are enough of a detriment that they will trend down. Or, perhaps web ads will be more like TV commercials, where nobody mistakes them for the main content.
When the iPad 2 came out I bought her a refurb original iPad, then eventually gave her the iPad 2 and then the original iPad Mini - but she prefers the iPad 2. A refurb iPad Air 2 arrived today as my latest gift for her; mostly because it's lighter.
However they have ads within articles now, including some full page ads between article pages.
I think there is a big hole in the market for software that is designed to be as easy as possible at the expense of power/flexibility. The article talks about people 75+, but I think the cutoff where a majority of people have a hard time with computers is younger than that. I bet that someone who really tried hard to make an integrated suite of senior-friendly software would do well.
Yes, the reason is the kid doesn't have to worry about paying for it when it breaks, so they don't care.
Informing my mom that she should just try stuff out on her Mac b/c she isn't going to break stuff was huge to help her get over her fear that she's going to click a wrong button and break something on a very expensive device.
[This doesn't address the issue of malware, of course, which is (in a sense) "breaking" your security by clicking a link]
Either way, kids don't care yet and just plow on doing whatever.
I had the same issue with my mom, it became better when I told her that the computer will ask before doing something irreversal (and even then it might be fixable), and I will only help her after she thinks she broke it.
While I was happily taking apart the OS as a kid. The only thing that really broke was a game that switched to US layout after I checked it out in a hex editor. (The Sims, you can read the comments in the code, quite neat. :) )
A $5 RSS app aimed at having a wall of text with as few bells and whistles as possible could be a good product idea for someone with nothing to do this upcoming weekend.
Also - if this sort of mode was popular, people might start linking to IT instead of the normal content. Note how the printer-friendly layout of news articles at the large sites is handled in CSS now, where it used to be a link to a separate page. In the past, people shared links to the print version, out of an abundance of courtesy.
This might not be in the right spirit but I think there is.. the radio. BBC Radio 4 thrives on this sort of audience who wants to be informed and entertained with the least complication possible.
Maybe as an extension of that answer, a voice controlled audio experience of sorts could work longer term. If Betty wants to know the latest news about Obama, say, she could just ask for that and get the latest audio report.
Zooming/resizing, in particular, pretty much just happens at random for me. I can't avoid it when I don't want to resize and can't make it work when I do want to resize. I didn't love the old "+|-" UI elements in the old Android (way back in the ~1.3 days, I guess), but I didn't hate them, the way I rage about random resizing. And, it's universal, too. It's not a thing that is unique to Android, or iOS or Windows, or Linux; I have these problems no matter what OS I'm using. Multitouch interfaces are really difficult for me to use.
My mom has an iPad, and she has a hard time with this kind of stuff, too. But, then again, the mouse was also hard for her...she managed to almost entirely miss the desktop/laptop computer age, by leaving my dad in charge of all computer-oriented activity, but now that he's gone, she has had to learn.
Anyway, it's clear that most technology is designed by and for able-bodied people in their 20s and 30s. Everybody else just kinda has to figure out workarounds (my dad used to have the resolution on his display set really low in Windows, so that everything would be big, so he could read it...there are ways to make Windows use large fonts and such, but not all software respects those settings, so he found the most universally consistent way to get big fonts was to work at a very low resolution).
Why the Drudge Report is the one of the best designed sites on the web... https://signalvnoise.com/posts/1407-why-the-drudge-report-is...
HN submission... https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9188663
All I want is text. I don't want links, I don't want ads, I don't want dancing clowns, email sign-up sheets, click-to-advance slide-shows, or any of the other 14,000 ways websites seek to suck me in. Just give me the fucking news.
It's frustrating. We're turning every part of our lives into some weird spinoff of an X-Box. I can't have a transactional relationship with a site. Let's say I want to travel. Can I just speak into my phone and tell it where I want to fly to, then have it set up the flights? Heck no. Instead I end up on a responsive, immersive, gamified POS that's one missoin in life is to keep me around and keep me coming back. Guess what? I don't want to be around, and I don't want to be coming back. I just want the stupid flight.
I don't think being a digital native has anything to do with it. This is all about what kinds of relationships we're going to expect and demand from our technology. So far the trend is not good. If somebody will fix this for older people, count me as a customer too.
My parents, having more time, edit wikipedia entries, which I'm pretty sure most of my friends have never done or wouldn't know how to do.
There's nothing special about being over 80. Your friends are dying all around you, and you start thinking about death more. But if you don't lose your head to Alzheimer's, you still can think, you still can learn. And you certainly can use tech objects like computers and tablets.
Ads are an abomination for everyone. The one improvement for tablets would be the ability to install Adblock at the device level. That would help all users, not just "seniors".
By direct experience, at Theneeds the majority of the complains that we receive from users are about ads - and we have no ads, we just embed the original sources into an iframe (which is of course something the average user doesn't understand - for him, we're putting ads).
I'd be interested in understanding what does Betty (or equivalent) think about a recommended stream approach, where you can at least have a preview of several news without incurring in ads/abnormal things... and ok, you'll have ads if you want to read the full article.
* "I want to read the New Yorker"
* "Open the article about traveling in India"
* "Open the email from Jennifer"
* "Open the attachment"
* "Attach the document I just edited to a reply to Jennifer"
I'd be interested in forking it or a similar project to better adapt it to this use case.
On a related note a friend of mine is the co-founder of a company aiming to fix this very problem. Their approach is portal software that allows users to interact with common services through a more simplistic, and better age-targeted service. Check it out here.
 - http://pleasyweb.com/
The a good small device skill is the "soft touch" because then only a small part of your finger is making contact with the touch screen. My Dad seems to have problems doing this.
This is one of the main reasons Google is moving towards a focus on mobile usability. One of their biggest warnings I see site owners get slammed for is "links too close together" and this is a great example of that.
I actually do this more when reading a physical newspaper than reading newspapers online. With several articles laid out on the same physical page and articles jumping from one page to another mid-article, I read articles uninterrupted beginning to end much less frequently than when reading on the typical newspaper website. Or am I misunderstanding what you'er saying here?
Read it. Remember it. Not everyone has perfect eye sight or hearing. Not to mention this woman, at age 89, probably has some form of (bone, nerve, skin, muscle) deterioration like arthritis. Which means, pressing tiny buttons on a small screen considerably more difficult.
Slower means people think the computer isn't doing anything.
That means clicking more. Which means the computer gets slower.
If anything, the poor and elderly need faster internet and faster computers. We geeks know how to deal with a slow computer (even if it's frustrating). We know when to stop pushing it and what a thrashing hard drive means to its performance.
People aren't delivering her the news primarily out of concern that she know or passion that she understand why they believe what they believe; it's for the income that results from convincing her to click on particular things.
a site with simple resizable text + photos with links clearly differentiated in some way (maybe links are at the bottom or in a clearly delineated box)
or a site with text and photos and no links
no pop-ups, no overlaid ads, no bait-and-switch links
easy and big scroll buttons
maybe two-steps needed to leave the page
I'd like to use this version of the internet too! Where do I sign up?
But of course, that's another random piece of UI to memorise.
I often struggle with gmail.... for older people it's near impossible.
I can't wondering if there's a market for a ridiculously simple, clear email interface offering just the basic functions.
The problems you describe are exactly what I tried to fix, and users seem very happy to have a simple email application that is free from advertisments, and does not get a "face lift" that makes everything worse every few months.
There's also PawPawMail, which is even simpler and caters to users who need a family member to help them (e.g. manage their contacts list).
Probably a trade secret, but what is your most successful marketing channel?
So the subscription price is very low - $18 per YEAR. This means that most marketing channels are simply too expensive (customer acquisition cost > customer lifetime value).
I gave Google Adwords a very serious try, but the results were unimpressive. Other guerilla-ish marketing attempts also did not succeed.
So basically the most effective channel is ranking high in search results for relevant terms (e.g. "email for seniors").
Needless to say i use a proper email client on my own machine as much as possible, but obviously this isn't an option 100% of the time.
Ageism is not cool.
Now, not so much. Maybe find an older Kindle keyboard (or 5th Gen) and have stuff delivered onto it. Doesn't quite give her the same sense of pulling content, but it might be less fraught than browsing on an iPad.
Another option, though, might be to find the feeds from the sources she likes, run them through a full-text feed generator, feed that into an email delivery service (e.g., blogtrottr) and have those added to something like Readability or Instapaper. Would work well on the iPad and there would be very little to mis-click.
I gathered that despite the focus on certain tutorial buttons, she wasn't reading the text beside it because it was long sentences with small text which she paused to read for a short time. I guess she read it but didn't really understand what they meant?. So she was just following the big blue buttons 'Next'.
It improves his precision not just by being familiar but also because it lets him be accurate and precise.
You know this is the primary business model when Slashdot moves to putting four huge ads right below the summary and fills the screen right to the absolute edges. I don't know how many times I've clicked on the Cardashian game by accident. Is there even one person who reads Slashdot and would play any of those advertised games? Slashdot must expect tons of accidental clicks, though I don't see why the game publishers would want to pay for them?!
I've used it as my main source of getting news from back home. Ignoring the quality of the editing (I spot a spelling or obvious grammar mistake almost daily), the app is decent.
It's straightforward. I can pick the categories I want. It just gives you the top X articles per category, nothing more. Doesn't link you elsewhere. One headline, one thumbnail image, sometimes 1 image embedded in the article. There's are very few buttons to be confused by. One of them is font size. I'd say it's pretty grandma-friendly!
If you're in the UK, yes. Otherwise, there are ads.
However, news companies would lose money and go out of business since heavy advertising is their business, but should an entity relying on borderline spam have any necessary reason to stay around?
TLDR; The more things change the more they stay the same. Developers still struggle to build systems that suit more casual users.
Back in my day links were blue and they were underlined and we liked it.
Personally I think there should be some learning algorithm to seamlessly calibrate the threshold for Force Touch(TM) by evaluating when something has been misclicked - such as taping on a link and then back before the page is loaded - and increase the force threshold. I really hope Apple will implement this in Safari for their new Macbook.
It's easy to say I should be patient. Sure ok. But I think designers need to pay attention to the speed of their site.
How is this the designer's fault? Perhaps the CDN or the developer or whomever is mandating 37 different tracking scripts be loaded onto each page ... but I'm not sure how the designer should be faulted unless they're creating very asset-heavy webpages.
This is tending towards the norm.
Edit: Maybe I should include and/or replace designer with developer?
Here's something that comes close: http://news.myway.com/index.html
This is less useful: http://www.newsisfree.com/pages/power/?cat=1
And do memory fail me, or did the early web work in the same manner?
Granted, it's a little lacking in peripheral details, like whether that's her only news source...
since this is obviously not really working (yet?),
i am really curious on how future journalists will generate revenue other than ads (eventually something will come up i guess).
You don't need a whole lot of stuff in a news article. Text, basic formatting, images, references, maybe a table or chart. Just because you can make elaborate interactive graphics doesn't mean that you should, most of the time. HTML is way overpowered for news and (more to the point) it makes it too easy for publishers to distribute crap to downstream users like Betty.
This brings me to the other side of the equation; the client. I do not just want an embedded browser. I've grown to hate the way that publishers, and their minions, the designers (^_^) have slapped CSS all over everything in order to brand every aspect of the web experience. I actually have preferences of my own about fonts, layout and so on, and I really miss being able to configure client software to display things the way I liked to look at them rather than the way some Jolt-chugging framework addict with a me-too manager wants to show it to me.
There are huge untapped opportunities in news delivery, of the sort I'd be willing to pay for. Why is there no way, for example, to pull up a globe that shows me where the hottest news stories are right now, or to use the same mapping layer for all geographic data contained in news stories, or build and share correlates, or set rules for source integrity to filter the obvious content farms that keep cropping up in my Google news feed, and so on?
News is ever-changing, but it's also consistent enough in lots of ways that it should super-enhanced by machine learning by now: the action and outcomes of individual sporting fixtures is highly unpredictable, but the context and seasonal progress of sporting fixtures is nearly invariant. Likewise, I don't know which country in the world will supply next week's most consequential events, but I do know that the list of countries and their associated geographic features vary very little over time. All stories involving weather take place in the context of seasonal variations over annual and decadal timeframes; by extension so do a vast number of economic news stories that involve commodities, and monthly and annual cycles are inherent to all sorts of economic and commercial activity. For a good many topics, there are only a few interesting facts worth parsing out of a 500-word story; much of the content is just contextual boilerplate. And yet when I go to Google Finance all I get is this mess of news headlines, uncorrelated data series, and market weathervanes. There is a great set of tools in Google Trendsbut there doesn't seem to be any systematic undertaking to integrate them with the feed of news.
My best guess is that most people are simply not interested enough in news to see a viable subscription-based model, or even an ad-based one based on carefully managed ads (like Google search results rather than the hideous eye candy that pollutes most news websites). I'll shut up now rather than waste an hour and thousands of words sketching specifications for how digital news ought to operate.