For all you Time Out fans out there, last week the popular magazine launched its own Shanghai centric website. We think it’s time for a review.
The website doesn’t stray from the usual Time Out format, so it already has a successful formula to operate from. Its layout is relatively uncluttered and fairly easy to navigate.
Unsurprisingly, it takes cues from just about any other Shanghai blog/listings site with its content. In terms of presentation, however, Time Out is days ahead of the competition.
For example, their listings section is very prominently displayed on their front page showing 3 distinctly different events for each day of the week, and clicking on a specific day will give you an extended list. But wait, there’s more! The event details are all neatly organized and include all the information you would ever need to know about a specific event.
Not only are things categorized by the conventional art/music/bars format, but Time Out also gives you the option to search things by neighborhood, which we don’t believe any other Shanghai oriented website has. Thus is you’re looking for a weekend activity or a new place to eat/drink close by, all you simply have to do is click on your neighborhood and browse through the listings.
Since the website is still young, it’s hard to make judgments about its content. As for articles themselves, the early ones already up on the site don’t stray too far from the typical Shanghai blog posts. Honestly, how many times have you read an article about the “best Shanghai parks,” or “Shanghai’s best pizza”?
Besides the all too familiar articles, one thing that perplexed us the most on the front page was an arbitrary interview with Lady Gaga which makes no mention to Shanghai or even China for that matter. It just doesn’t make sense for it to be there.
But we suppose original articles aren’t what people read Time Out for.
As Editor Toby Skinner writes “The focus on the site is on events, so that you can clearly see the best things to do in town on any given day.” And we have to agree. After fiddling around with the website for an hour or two, we can authoritatively say that when it comes to listings, timeoutshanghai.com delivers the goods.
By Patrick Keefe