Thursday, November 26, 2009 Redesign

To quote Mr. Horse from Ren & Stimpy, "No sir, I didn't like it."

I tried to give them feedback on their website about the redesign, which is still in beta but the form didn't work. So, Ms. Walsh, here is what I would have told you had the site functioned properly:

If I were grading the design team or designer a letter grade for the new layout it would be a D. Looking at the code, it's a mess. If, in the future, you decide to redesign again it would be a nightmare for the person doing the redesign. It would be easier to scrap it all and start from scratch. The HTML & CSS is much more complicated than it needs to be. The beauty of doing a layout with CSS is that it is simpler, lighter, etc. I could understand if this were a site that utilized dynamic pages (JSP, ASP and the like, but they aren't.)

Moving beyond the mechanics of the pages, the layout is awful. Nothing flows, everything is disjointed, and the scale of elements and their relationship to one another is completely out of whack. The War Room for instance, the logo is cut off on the left hand side (which a new reader would not notice but is a bit of a shock to people who been visiting the site for a while) and is smaller than the headlines of the stories. Having all the navigation and links to the right side of the page is a good choice, but they are all over-sized and awkward. The advertising comes between the content and navigation, placing, perhaps, too much emphasis on the ad over the content. On some pages there are huge gaps of empty space between the content and the navigation at the bottom of the page. On most pages the ad comes between the top navigation and the content of the page - awful... why interrupt the flow of the page to place an ad there? It makes the top navigation, which I like seem separate from the rest of the page.

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