Archive for the ‘Redesigns’ Category

This horse doesn’t die.

Techcrunch was apparently following my lead on this whole newspaper issue… actually they probably most definitely don’t read this blog.  But, if you’re still interested in the issue of modernizing the Newspaper Industry, I suggest you read this article.

Study: Newspaper Websites Are Still Figuring Out This Whole Conversation Thing .

Omaha World Herald Redesign

It’s been awhile since I’ve visited the North but Thanksgiving brought me up to Omaha, Nebraska and every morning I got to see the new(ish) Omaha World-Herald.  Generally pleased by what I saw, I thought I’d continue my newspaper re-design reviews “column” and give a quick review.

The Omaha World-Herald has been around since 1885, just about one hundred and twenty years longer than my company.  If that doesn’t give you perspective on it’s role in the community, the World-Herald is locally owned and is the largest employee-owned daily newspaper in the United States.  It also has the 4th best market home Sunday circulation penetration rate in the country (via owh) and ranks #52 nationally in circulation (via infoplease) - 2 spots ahead of the Statesman, I might add.  Pretty good for a city of only ~390,007 people.

Likes

  • Uniform Sub-section Headers - Probably THE most noticeable feature of the newspaper and most definitely THE biggest UX improvement.
  • The Sports Section is “branded” to match the University of Nebraska.  This is a really good bit of contextualization because as any sports fan knows the whole state of Nebraska is a fan of the Huskers, and if you’re not, you probably don’t belong in the state.
  • Like above, the Money Section is green.  Green = money. No brainer.
  • The header of the page gives valuable ad/feature space that doesn’t take away focus from the headlines. 
  • Good balance of GOOD photography and print.

Dislikes

I have to confess that I didn’t spend enough time with the paper to bring up a list of dislikes. But I have always found the OWH to be pretty fair and genuinely written, not glazed with a sleazy bias. But that’s less about design and more about political ethics.

I will say though, on researching information for this article I went to the Omaha World Herald website and was appalled by it. I tried to come up with reasons for it.  Maybe it’s a surrender to the big machines like CNN.com and MSNBC.com who have the online news market cornered.  Maybe it’s too costly to modernize.  Maybe a web redesign is in the works - if there isn’t one yet, please call me.  Paravel would love to help. But despite my pining for an answer, I was left looking at a site that doesn’t reflect the vibrance of the paper version.

I think it’s a shame that “smaller” newspapers don’t have awesome websites.  I guess there’s a budget issue to consider, but to me smaller newspapers should have a rapidly advancing web presence due to the fact that the volume of information is way less than say the Los Angeles Times.

And a continually updating web presence is important in this day and age.  As kids turn to the internet for answers on a daily basis, in 20 years, your paper subscriptions will be obsolete.  So you should get people hooked on your RSS feeds now (the Herald’s RSS feed isn’t true RSS, btw).[/rant]

In Conclusion

Good paper. Nice headers.  Terrible website.  That compress my feelings quite nicely.

↑↑ Please forgive my iPhone photography, it was all I had on hand.

Best Buy Identity Redesign

The design world is buzzing about the latest corporate rebranding brought to you by Best Buy, and I decided I might as well get my two cents in. Here’s our exhibit:

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are some things I like about this redesign, but I’ve found that the cons outweigh the pros.

Pros

  • I like the new font. The old font was way too heavy and bulky. I also like that they went away from the all-caps format of the old logo.
  • It’s definitely a more modern departure from their old logo. The old one was getting pretty outdated, and I think this new one is refreshing. 
  • They kept the instantly recognizable yellow tag (although I would have liked to have seen it as a solid color).
Cons
  • GENERIC. Seriously, it looks like it was pulled from one of those “LOGOZ FOR 50 BUCKS!!!” websites. The tag looks like clip art… just not as interesting as it could be. This could be a design for just about any company.
  • Where did that blue come from? It looks like an attempt to be more sophisticated.
  • It looks like they took a page out of the Wal-Mart rebranding kit. That can never be a good thing.
  • The more I look at it, the more the “t” and the “y” bug the crap out of me. 
  • I’m going to guess that this won’t look good on signage. Although a tad tacky and in-your face, the old logo was instantly recognizable from a signage standpoint. The new one kind of has that old Radio Shack feel to it. 
  • I can’t decide if fitting the tag beside the “y” is too forced or subtle. I’m leaning more towards too forced right now, but that could change over time.
Here’s what I would have done. Instead of taking a page out of the Wal-Mart rebranding kit, I would have taken one from the UPS rebranding kit. UPS took a very old and outdated logo and brought it into the modern age without killing the integrity of their original look. I would liked to have seen Best Buy start by keeping the lettering inside the tag, instead of going the Wal-Mart “insert crappy icon here” look. 
In short…
FAIL

Chicago Tribune Newspaper-Redesign

On NPR today I heard about the Chicago Tribune’s paper-based newspaper redesign.  It’s not too often that you hear about a newspaper redesigning their paper format, since everything is heading towards becoming web-based. I was curious and looked into it more.  I encourage you to go over and watch the video about the Chicago Tribune redesign on their website.

Although I haven’t actually got my hands on the new paper - Ironically, I heard about it on the radio and then previewed it on the web - I can already tell that this is an amazing improvement to what current newspapers have to offer.  They’ve pulled style and design elements from the web and magazine culture and wonderfully integrated it into their paper.

Some of the new features include:

  • Large Images - In a world of diminishing reader attention span this makes a big improvement.  It also brightens up the classic “smudgy black” on white bringing a magazine-like feel to the newspaper.
  • “Digg-style” Pagination - Linear page numbering of pages helps the readers not feel lost in a huge stack of sections (no more “Go to Section E8″?)
  • Stacked Logo - This gives the newspaper new real estate for a “featured” section in the header bringing another story “above the fold” on the frontpage.
  • Vibrant Identity for Sections - The News, Sports, Lifestyle, etc. sections now have improved “branding” which gives the newspaper a more modern magazine feel.

Print and web are sisters in the world of design.  Their threading of new contemporary design elements have, much like you do in a website redesign, increased their UI, the overall readability of the newspaper, and most importantly their User Experience which will no doubt pay off in the long run.

Hopefully this will be a continuing trend from the large papers to the local papers.  Maybe this will help spark another Print Revolution in a digital world where it’s often being said “Print is Dead“.

Godaddy.com “Redesign” FAIL

Godaddy's New Redesign

Today GoDaddy unveiled a redesign of their homepage.  It’s incredibly “web2.0″ with a whole bunch of slick gradients.  Too bad it’s like 5 years too late.  We use GoDaddy quite a bit for domain registration (matter o’ fact, I personally bought 2 domains last week) so the Need for a redesign was quite apparent (view the waybackmachine).  However… this one is a couple french fries short of a Happy Meal.

I’ll start with the cons:

Cons

  • It’s still a complicated mess.  A cluster-[insert 4 letter word here].  At one glance I can’t find anything I want to… except Danica Patrick.  Who is hott/hawt/xxxHOTxxx, but NASCAR Indy doesn’t make me want to buy a domain.
  • UPDATE: After looking at the code again, I noticed it’s a TABLE LAYOUT!  SINNNNNNERRRRR!
  • The rounded corners are doing nothing.  Rounded corners are supposed to sooth the reader and the content into place, make it “feminine” if you will.  
  • The <title> tag doesn’t even have the company’s name in it.  Granted this may be a GOOGLE HAXX, but it’s generally assumed you should include the Company Name in there.
  • A brief look under the hood exposes a conundrum of inline CSS, bloaty non-obfuscated javascript, and (according to Safari’s Web Inspector) 11 Errors.
    godaddy in safari webinspector
  • I get Dale Jr. and Danica, but I don’t know who Amanda and Candice are and/or why I should choose them to help me buy a domain. I’m pretty sure they’re strippers.

Pros

  • Danica Patrick is hott/hawt/xxxHOTxxx(?)
  • The login form is more accessible than it was before.  Good Job Go Daddy!
I think ultimately what the redesign actually should have done is put a HUMONGOUS “$1.99 DOMAINS! SEARCH HERE” and had a large input box for me to look for domains… since that is always my first step in buying a domain.  They could of even had Danica or one of those hot stripper girls pointing at it.
I think I’m done here.   Good try, godaddy, better luck next time!  I’ll still use your services though.