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Wall Street Journal Redesign

at 10:00 am

The much anticipated re-design of wsj.com launched today (see homepage below). I've heard quite a bit of complaining so far that they have continued to restrict access to much of their content. However, I haven't heard much praise for some of the things they got right! Here are my thoughts:



First and foremost, the site is a significant improvement on a purely visual level. Re-designing a news site is a massive undertaking that requires information architecture expertise that often goes unacknowledged- especially if it's done successfully. This site, despite being very busy and dense, is still easy to scan through and quickly digest a large amount of material. They use typography in a way that makes it easy for any reader to quickly get a sense of priority among the stories. (For all the restricted access complainers, they also use a nifty little key icon to indicate content available to subscribers only.) I was surprised to see that their homepage video widget sits below a large advertisement on the right side. This means that their video content on the homepage will likely be below the fold for most business laptop users. I'm sure they thought through this choice... that must be a pretty expensive ad slot.



I also love the way they promote section-specific "top stories" content on the article detail pages (see screenshot above). There is a simple "ribbon" across the top, which can be scrolled through using the arrow icons on the right. It scrolls very smoothly, and shows about three items in full at any given time. My guess is that this feature will be heavily used.

On the section landing pages (see screenshot below), they have some nice interface details, like the "highlights" widget on the top right, which allows you to scroll through featured stories, too.



Finally, they clearly care about art direction and interactive. I noticed this interactive graphic (see below) on an article about AIG and Lehman. Nice job!





Comments

Able | September 16, 2008 11:28 AM
Chris,
Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I agree, there are some great things about the new site. I particularly like the tabbed interface on article details pages. Take this article, for example: http://tinyurl.com/6h6zao

I think it is a great way to get multimedia and comments easily set apart on the page, and "above the fold."

I also like that on the homepage, sections are side-by-side, and have the same height. (World, Markets, Business, Tech, and so on
Justin | September 17, 2008 11:53 AM
Chris,
While I agree with the merits of the WSJ design elements you pointed out, I think the CNN redesign (which is several months old now) is still heads and shoulders above the WSJ redesign.

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