Times Redesigns Web Site, Bloggers Credit Selves

Bloggers applaud the newly unveiled redesign of the New York Times' Web site - and take some bows.

On Sunday night, the New York Times launched a redesign of its Web site, including wider pages, additional multimedia and video features, and expanded lists of the most emailed and most blogged articles.

“Our goal when we set out to redesign the Times Web site more than a year ago was to make experiencing the New York Times online simpler and more useful,” NYTimes.com Editor in Chief Leonard M. Apcar wrote on Sunday. “We hope you conclude that we have done that on the new pages appearing for the first time this month.”

So what are bloggers saying about the redesign? In general, a whole lot of everything. Currently, Apcar’s letter about the redesign rests at the number 2 spot on the Times’ most blogged list.

Some bloggers sized up the redesign and saw the all-important impact of … bloggers.

“The Times redesign includes a page listing the most blogged stories,” writes Bloggers Blog. “If you look at the individual news stories you can see the content is on the left. This is the way many blogs display their content.”

“There’s a few lessons for bloggers to learn from the redesign, as well as some evidence that the Times itself has been learning from bloggers,” writes Six Apart (publisher of Movable Type, blogging software used by, among others, CJR Daily). “But the blog influence on the Times isn’t just limited to issues like screen real estate or the team behind the scenes, it’s visible in the aesthetic and the content of the new site as well.”

“The content of the new site shows how important blogs are to the Times Web team, as well,” adds Six Apart. “Tabs at the top make blog-friendly content like most popular stories and videos easily accessible. And there’s a new section listing the most blogged stories on the site.”

In the meantime, many bloggers were applauding the Times for switching to a wider-screen format.

“Overall I think the changes are positive … and the site looks very good,” writes Two Percent Nation. “Of most interest to me from a Web design and product management perspective is their decision to design the site for computer monitors with a resolution of 1024x768. Many sites today are still designed for monitors with a resolution setting of 800x600. The advantage to designing for the larger resolution setting is being able to fit more content on the page and have more content display above the fold.”

Other bloggers were less impressed.

“All the people I’ve read have been cooing over the new NYTimes.com design, but … I don’t like it,” writes Peter Cooper. “I don’t think the world is ready for 1000 pixel-wide Web pages. … Secondly, check out all those columns and all that clutter. It reminds me of the ICQ homepage back in the day. I don’t know where to begin and/or why to look at the stuff around the edges. I’d say the BBC News site gets the whole column thing right, but the new NY Times site misses the mark for me despite having many improvements in other areas.”

Finally, for some bloggers, the Times’ redesign still suffered from that tired convention of Old Media — i.e. too much reporting, and too many stories.

“Food for thought if you believe adding lots of content is important to a Web site,” writes 4WebResults. “It is important from a search engine perspective, but remember, sites are intended for human readers. It’s easy to overwhelm someone with too many choices and too many paths.”

For our part, we give the new Times design a thumbs up — after all, isn’t giving readers new choices and options what the Web is all about?

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Felix Gillette writes about the media for The New York Observer.