The New York Times launched its redesigned website on Jan. 8. Much fanfare ensued. The CNN/Money site declared that the new design "points to (the) future of online publishing."
Here's a screenshot of the old home page:
And a screenshot of today's homepage:
(Special thanks to my sister, Natalie, who sent me an archived page from the old Times site.)
Is there really that much difference between these two homepages?
The Times gets accused all the time of being stuck in the past. Why not take a risk? Why not be bold? Why not give it a Hulu look? Why not give it more white space? Why not give it a simpler grid?
Am I right?
Maybe not. Some of my talented current and former students, who have a better designer's eye than I have — plus they're digital natives — told me they like the new site.
Madison Wathen, the layout chief of The Asbury Collegian student newspaper that I advise, had this to say:
I love that they changed the headline links from blue to black. Not only does it look more professional, but it also lets the images to be the only source of color pop on the website. Very minimalist. I think it's more aesthetically pleasing in general because the blue links seemed to distract in a negative way whereas the black links allow your eyes to scan and navigate easier.
Will Houp, a recent graduate of mine who now attends Northwestern's graduate program at Medill, also liked the change:
I love how you can scroll through the entire article without having to click "next page." I think it makes for a better reading flow.
So I guess I'm out-voted for now. Still, one day, I hope to see a Hulu-esque homepage at nytimes.com.