Announcing E&P’s Web Site Redesign Contest

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By: Jay DeFoore

We’ve noticed a lot of news sites redesigning in recent weeks, many taking large leaps in terms of look, usability, community features, user-generated content, etc. It’s a new year after all, so what better time than to clean up the clutter and build a better site for readers and advertisers.

We’re happy to see comment-enabled article pages becoming standard, and the proliferation of horizontal navigation seems like a good idea. We love exploring the “Most Emailed” sidebars, and the podcasts, video content, and blogs are positive developments. It’s also encouraging to see classifieds getting more prominent display, now commonly found by hard to miss links near the top of the page.

E&P has chronicled some of the redesigns in this space, but many others have slipped by without comment. So in order to open a dialogue on the ever-evolving best-practices for news Web sites, we’re asking our readers to browse a few of the recent redesigns and e-mail us with your thoughts.

The first critiques are in!
  • Susan Hardin, a digital media consultant and former director of design and operations for ajc.com, offers up a quite thorough analysis.

  • Jay Small, director of online content and operations at E.W. Scripps Newspapers, and Jeff Johns, the online producer at MCall.com, weigh in with the first critiques.

  • Minnesota resident John Vennewitz says StarTribune.com became completely irrelevant with its latest redesign. Additional critiques can be submitted via e-mail.



Think of it as a worldwide virtual critique. What works, what doesn’t? What could have been done differently, which features are right on the money?

To get you started, check out the links below to some of the most recent redesigns. If there are others out there, feel free to e-mail us with a link and we’ll update this article with new URLs. Maybe you frequent a site that needs an updated look and user experience? Nominate it for a mandatory redesign.

We’re asking you to send us your comments via e-mail because, quite frankly, we could use a redesign ourselves, as there’s no comment function with our existing CMS. We’ll compile the responses in this space as they arrive.

So what goes to the winner? This is a contest after all. There must be prizes. Well, not exactly. But you’ll have the love and adoration of your peers, and some of us (myself included) might even learn something from all of this.

So go ahead, click away, and don’t forget to tell us what you think.

RECENT REDESIGNS

BostonPhoenix.com (Phoenix Media)

Chron.com (Hearst)

HamptonRoads.tv (Virginian-Pilot)

KnoxNews.com (Scripps)

MCall.com (Tribune)

NaplesNews.com and BonitaNews.com (Scripps)

News.com

* PoconoRecord.com (Ottaway Newspapers)

RegisterGuard.com (Eugene, Ore.)

SeattleWeekly.com

StarTribune.com (McClatchy)

Statesman.com and Austin360.com (Cox Newspapers)

TCPalm.com (Scripps)

Topix.net

PENDING REDESIGNS

Bakersfield.com

TheStar.com (Toronto Star)

* = newly added

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