MSNBC gained some weight.
October 30, 2000 7:13 PM   Subscribe

MSNBC gained some weight. No, it's not a redesign but an evolution of MSNBC's homepage. Looks better than one before. Sigh. Where have all the real redesigns gone?
posted by Brilliantcrank (8 comments total)
Ok. I was lazy initially but just found a letter from the editor on the new MSNBC homepage.

posted by Brilliantcrank at 7:22 PM on October 30, 2000

i might be hallucinating, but i could have sworn MSNBC's front page used to have the same Javascript that MSN's has that used to take away an extra column in the main table if the browser window couldn't fit it

(go to and change your browser's horizontal size from big to small to see what i mean, dunno if it works in netscape)
posted by pnevares at 7:30 PM on October 30, 2000

So I assume the ad is in the center because people inevitably skim right over it when it's at the top. And the use of bullets has gone a bit overboard; I count 34(!) in the main section. Is a red bullet really an appropriate choice for a 2nd-line title headline?

Personally, I don't like it. Way WAY too busy...
posted by smackfu at 7:58 PM on October 30, 2000

I like it better than That site looks horrible.
posted by Brilliantcrank at 9:14 PM on October 30, 2000

Is there any logic to arrangement of the navigation? From top to bottom we have a marquee, top story, news links to the right of the top story box, a rule in the form of an adbanner, more links labeled as “inside msnbc” (as opposed to outside?), then a search area and links listed as “msnbc quick links” (as oppsed to slow links).

Is this helpful to anyone? Did this redesign improve the old one? I still only use the activex news from the side nav, the body is too confusing.

And there is no bgcolor. I guess that's a preference but all their images are aliased to white.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 9:33 PM on October 30, 2000

pnevares - you are correct, and believe it or not, I conceived of and wrote the code to do that. (Of course MSNBC chiefs approved it and designers defined it, but I did the code). We did this back before MSN made their change. I was always happy with that code because it was set up to download the basic page first, then use script to query the width of you screen and - if it was wide enough - then go fetch the additional HTML/graphics for the side panel. those with small windows didn't have to download unneeded code. Of course this meant all content in that panel was 'bonus' material, not visible to all, so it made the space less powerful from an editorial standpoint.

I don't work for MSNBC now, and haven't for over a year, but it looks like they made some decisions to make that 'extra' space more permanent, small windows and scrollbars be damned. I'm not sure if I like the new look or not - but I will say this - it's big (real-estate-wise).
posted by kokogiak at 9:40 PM on October 30, 2000

kokogiak, good job with that code, the first time i saw it (can't recall when exactly) i was stunned as to why no one else had thought of something like that. =)

i think the redesign might be MSNBC's response to the "more, more, more" attitude that's popular today, basically MSNBC acting as a portal to itself...and i don't think it works right.
posted by pnevares at 1:58 AM on October 31, 2000

It's a little busier, but not by much. I actually think they still use color effectively as part of the information design (more so than other sites). The bullets are clearly to keep headlines from seeming to run together, but there's an awful lot of them now.

The thing I like the most about MSNBC is the menu navigation. That lets you drill down to where you want to be without even leaving your current page.
posted by dhartung at 12:48 PM on October 31, 2000

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