Newsweek Website Redesign Embraces Simplicity
We’ve covered the importance of the symbiotic relationship between usability and appearance, and that successful websites find a way to incorporate both. When considering Newsweek’s site redesign, it’s clear the designers gave great consideration to the user experience.
In his note to readers about the site redesign, the site’s editor said that Newsweek sought opinions on what readers wanted from a website, and find out how they used websites. That exercise clearly was focusing on what makes a website pleasing and easy-to-use for the audience. The result of this was a site that the editor said embraced “two words… simplicity and clarity.”
The finished product does indeed take a more simple approach. It feels significantly streamlined, almost like an advanced blog. There’s one main story at the top, rather than many. Underneath it is a section of the latest stories and updates from writers, the most recent entries at the top, like a blog. There’s also a new section that features articles and commentary from around the web on various issues that are hot. By doing this Newsweek seeks to give the reader pertinent information from other sources, not just that which was created by Newsweek. Sending readers away from your website used to be controversial, but now it’s an accepted practice toward the goal of giving readers what they want.
I think the new site accomplishes its objectives successfully. It definitely is straightforward and easy to use. It clearly has scaled back from the ultra-busy site it had for years, which seemed to try to give as much information as possible to the reader, and which ultimately became overwhelming. And other reviews of this redesign agree that this is an improvement.
Also related to website design is the conversation that took place last week where Huffington Post accused Talking Points Memo of copying its look. What do you think? It may be similar, and perhaps TPM did take some of the general look (although I don’t think they did). That said, I don’t think this is any major revelation anyway… designs are always copied and refined, and it’s been that way for years in any medium.