September 19, 2002 11:46 AM   Subscribe Redesigned. " has launched a new design that provides better navigation, larger photos, personalized weather, a new 'User Picks' feature, and more depth in specific subject areas, including technology, entertainment and world news." Is it really any better? I think it looks more cluttered than ever. What's the most usable news site?
posted by dayvin (44 comments total)
posted by panopticon at 11:52 AM on September 19, 2002

i barely even noticed. it's still f-u-u-u-gly.
posted by donkeyschlong at 11:52 AM on September 19, 2002

I hope that the redesign project did not take too much time and resources, cause it still sucks booty!
posted by bmxGirl at 11:55 AM on September 19, 2002

The International Herald Tribune is my fav. So much so that I interviewed the designer at my site. Sorry for the self link but its relevant.
posted by madmanz123 at 11:58 AM on September 19, 2002

Someone needs to clue CNN into the fact that the whole "portal" look is SO 1998.
posted by GreyWingnut at 11:59 AM on September 19, 2002

posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:59 AM on September 19, 2002

Busy busy busy. Information overkill. Brain explosion. MSNBC must be excited about the redesign--their traffic's gonna go WAY up.
posted by gramcracker at 11:59 AM on September 19, 2002

The homepage's 2-column headline list (below the fold) is impossible to scan -- the gigantic headings and blue angled-bubble-underline news widget are so visually overpowering. And the new "User Picks" feature is a nod to (or a blatant copy of) Yahoo!'s "Most Popular."
posted by dayvin at 12:04 PM on September 19, 2002

The most useable new site is Metafilter, of course.
posted by agregoli at 12:05 PM on September 19, 2002

news. sorry. I'm so sleepy it's not even funny.
posted by agregoli at 12:06 PM on September 19, 2002

Indeed... it's nice to have an index page that has categorized links to all the latest headlines, but I'm sure the uninitiated will find it intimidating.

My favorite news site layout is C|Net News, which simply presents the latest headlines down the side and navigation on top. Sacbee is my runner-up, but like CNN it's a bit cluttered.
posted by rogue at 12:06 PM on September 19, 2002

In my eyes, it's not complete until it has a "Breaking News" section at the bottom of the page that's chock full of old news.
posted by madprops at 12:09 PM on September 19, 2002

Didn't notice any difference. For a second I thought they had implemented MSNBC-like cascading menus for news headings, but no. For some reason I really like those, which is why I usually read MSNBC (and CNN almost never).

BTW the IHT web site is indeed remarkable and elegant-looking, but... the floating menu-bar stresses me out, and I don't find a lot of the fancy stuff very useful. Maybe I didn't spend enough time on the site, but that's the point, isn't it? The tabloid-like MSNBC seems to me like a better adaptation of news to the web medium, but I'm just a news junkie, not a usability expert. Probably has a bigger budget, of course...
posted by Turtle at 12:11 PM on September 19, 2002

madmanz123 - thanks for the link. i've been meaning to track down info on whoever designed that site for ages.
posted by andrew cooke at 12:18 PM on September 19, 2002

Seems like they moved all the time warner content down to the bottom so they can conveniently tear it off at the perforation once TimeWarner spins itself apart...
posted by BentPenguin at 12:23 PM on September 19, 2002

The Beeb (lo fi)
posted by bonehead at 12:24 PM on September 19, 2002

by far.
posted by wrffr at 12:25 PM on September 19, 2002

The colors need a little more work (would it kill them to make a light blue background to match those heading bars?), but - mmm. Pixelly font goodness.
posted by wanderingmind at 12:29 PM on September 19, 2002

Is anyone else seeing wacky hella-wide pages, or is it just me and my 2-hours-old build of Mozilla? ;)
posted by abischof at 12:33 PM on September 19, 2002

Cool! Almost crashed my browser!
posted by boardman at 12:34 PM on September 19, 2002

In related news, TSN, a Canada Hockey, I mean, Sports site, just redesigned themselves for the worse too. Now everything is more gimmickey, but slower, more crash-inducing, less cross-browser compatible, and exactly as ugly as it used to be.
What gives?
posted by Fabulon7 at 12:37 PM on September 19, 2002

Ah, I see that the CNN problems are assigned as Mozilla bugs 169620 and 169568.
posted by abischof at 12:47 PM on September 19, 2002

abischof: Your link looks fine on the latest stable lizard (1.1)
posted by bonehead at 12:47 PM on September 19, 2002

I've given up on seeing a decent design on any major news site, they all seem too afraid to make tough decisions about what's important, so everything is crammed in somewhere.

CNN is all over the place, if there's a logical pattern to the front page layout I can't see it, and in terms of graphic design it's an amateurish mess.
posted by malevolent at 12:47 PM on September 19, 2002

It's like they took every option possible, designed them all separately, ate them all, then threw it up all over the page. I don't trust CNN anyway.
posted by joeadk at 12:54 PM on September 19, 2002

The Wall St. Journal easily has the best site of any mainstream news carrier. The subtle and aesthetically pleasing color scheme, the universal navigation bar along the left edge of every page, and the complete topic sentences (rather than lame headlines) for each story in a given section make it easy to navigate quickly. The main page is also highly customizable so you can put the top headlines of 10 or so sections you read daily all on the first page. Of course, you have to pay for access....
posted by shinnin at 1:03 PM on September 19, 2002

Yo CNN! Y'all hiring QA managers to check whether your code's valid?
posted by DenOfSizer at 1:17 PM on September 19, 2002

Thank God no one fucked around with Kings Things
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:17 PM on September 19, 2002

Blah Zay - Bad - Yech
posted by RubberHen at 1:35 PM on September 19, 2002

I like the Economist's site best for usability, out of any news site I see. CNN's is bad, but the two columns of subheadings are horrible.
posted by SpecialK at 1:42 PM on September 19, 2002

I'll second and also point to which is currently the first site i hit when i get online in the morning.
posted by mantid at 2:02 PM on September 19, 2002

It certainly seems to get more cluttered, even as I return to using it more for news links because of its lack of registration. Recently I found myself mentally blocking out large portions of the page anyway as useless clutter.

I did used to like MSNBC's menus -- though they don't work in Mozilla, and this summer they trimmed the space allotted to the international news section to only allow one or two stories per region (probably to expand some dumb feature like 'lifestyle').

I can't say there's a perfect news site, although the NYT remains good at presenting its own content, and I like the fact I can now get local news again on My Yahoo. But CNN has a bigger mission, probably, which is its problem -- it's not there just to present the news to CNN's news audience. Hence the portalization effect.
posted by dhartung at 2:21 PM on September 19, 2002

Ooooh.... make it POP!
posted by Hankins at 2:52 PM on September 19, 2002

The Nando Times text version is nice, if you can ignore the crappy markup and filter out the banners :)
posted by Freaky at 4:03 PM on September 19, 2002

oh my holy hell. you know, this is almost worse than trying to watch CNN Headline News, with this four layers of tickers and highlight boxen. I wonder what kind of slick pitch it took to sell them on this ... or how cheap was the bid.
posted by billpena at 4:38 PM on September 19, 2002

What's the most usable news site?
posted by quonsar at 6:30 PM on September 19, 2002

quonsar, that is your answer to everything ;-)
posted by dg at 5:16 AM on September 20, 2002

The most useable new site is Metafilter, of course.

*strangles agregoli*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:35 AM on September 20, 2002

*strangles agregoli*

Yet, strangely, can't help but agree.
posted by dg at 6:12 AM on September 20, 2002

I like the fact that they're using more CSS to render things like menus. Hopefully that will boost the rendering speed. While I don't think it's usable, since it's so cluttered, it is better. Again, I'm one of those people who like sites who just get to the facts, Drudge isn't that bad, Google News either.
posted by mkelley at 6:13 AM on September 20, 2002

Put me down for The Beeb (lo fi) as well
posted by zimbobzim at 6:59 AM on September 20, 2002

Actually, I'm a fan of the good ol' New York Times... once you get past the free registration, it's got some pretty good content and is well laid out.
posted by Fofer at 7:48 AM on September 20, 2002

The site looks pretty much the same to me.
posted by PoliticalJunkie at 8:08 AM on September 20, 2002

Google news did a major redesign today. Not sure how much I like it, but it certainly has more information up front than the old one.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:11 AM on September 23, 2002

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