If you follow The Denver Post regularly, you may have seen their new redesign. It’s always interesting when websites undergo a makeover. Will it be more user friendly, look good, or will it be a complete flop? Well, I told a coworker about it, he clicked over, and said, “Ugh.”
Exactly what I was thinking.
What’s wrong with it, you ask?
First, here’s a look at what we have “above the fold,” meaning everything that you can see before you have to scroll.
It doesn’t have the feeling of a metro area’s newspaper anymore.
- It feels less professional- I don’t want to be seeing a widget at the top right showing a bunch of tweets and links from other sites, I want to see what other people are reading and get a general idea of what’s going on in the state/country/world.
- It’s generic- if you take out The Denver Post title, the news site could be from anywhere. There is no real branding here. The blue nav bar? Boring. Does the Denver Post have a color scheme? If so, why isn’t it used?
- Breaking News doesn’t stand out so much to me. I think it would be better in red text instead of blue.
- Even though this is below the fold on my laptop, the size of the headline text under the picture is way too big. It competes with the image and demands more attention than the Breaking News column.
Let’s see what happens when you hover over one of the nav bar items.
I have to scroll in this menu? Really? No thanks.
While I see the use in the most recent story links being put on the right, it’s kind of cluttered that way. It’s almost like these stories were put on the right because no one would find them otherwise. There’s a sign that it might be good to rethink the content organization.
Is there anything that I actually like about the site? Yes there is.
- I like the font choices. Not necessarily the sizes (the different sizes are pretty awkward), but the fonts themselves are nice.
- It’s good that they tried to make a news site less cluttered, but they need to go back and give it another shot after looking at some good designs. WP has some nice templates for bloggers–templates that are nicer than their design. I’m puzzled as to why the Denver Post couldn’t come up with anything better.
Now for the good design. My favorite example would be The New Yorker‘s site.
Let’s take a look at their site above the fold.
Isn’t this great?
There’s space, branding, a widget with the most popular stories, and a slideshow with some more choices. With all these articles to choose from, I don’t feel overwhelmed or that I’m missing something. There are enough options to start with and if I want more, I can scroll down or choose a topic from the navbar.
Let’s talk about the branding for a second.
If you take out the title, there’s still a consistent look and feel to the content of the site that says The New Yorker. They took the font of the title and tied it in with other titles around the site. There’s a color scheme. There’s even a logo as a part of the header. I love how effective it is.
There’s a main call-to-action in the form of the red subscribe box in the navigation, with two secondary links elsewhere in the top part of the site asking readers to subscribe. On the Denver Post, there’s a small blue link. That’s it. I don’t think that would be very effective for business.
Slideshows are fairly popular among different types of sites these days and I think they’re especially effective for news and magazine sites to add to the amount of content displayed on the homepage without cluttering up the page and overwhelming visitors.
I think the developers and designers behind The New Yorker put in a lot of thought into the appearance and function of the site. It doesn’t feel like that with the Denver Post. Let’s hope the next design resembles a professional newspaper and not a halfhearted attempt at one.