NYTimes.com Broadens Its View

    April 3, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

The major redesign of the online version of the “paper of record” has the New York Times breaking out of its small-monitor design shell among other changes.

The Grey Lady received an extreme makeover from its web designers, and it appears that “smaller fonts on the homepage” may have been at the top of the list. NYTimes.com editor-in-chief Leonard Apcar disclosed the more interesting changes in a letter to readers on the site.

“We have expanded the page to take advantage of the larger monitors now used by the vast majority of our readers. We’ve improved the navigation throughout the site so that no matter what page you land on, you can easily dig deeper into other sections or use our multimedia,” he wrote.

The navigation change Apcar mentioned can be seen at the very top of NYTimes.com. Tabs for the new features take readers directly to them.

The personalized MyTimes section is still in development, but readers can sign up for invitations to try it out later in April. “Personalized pages aren’t new on the Web but ones offering the guidance of Times editors, reporters and critics are,” said Apcar.

A Today’s Paper link delivers The Times in Print, with links to sections of the paper and a clickable scanned image of the front page that can be enlarged slightly to view the photos and headlines on it, but not the text itself.

The Video option in the links delivers embedded video news options powered by The FeedRoom from Speedera.net. Internet Explorer and Safari have been listed as the recommended browsers; the page will load in Firefox but won’t play video, and attempting to load it in Opera just throws back a “System Requirements” page.

Once loaded in a recommended browser, the videos do look good but still suffer from the usual bandwidth problems with online video: pixellation around moving subjects and lips moving out-of-sync with words being spoken on screen when the subject moves too much.

Lists of articles that have been most frequently emailed or blogged about, topics most frequently searched, and the most popular movies, all appear on the Most Popular page. Also, an Ajax-powered Most Popular section with each story lets readers can click on tabs to see condensed versions of the emailed, blogged, and searched lists.

A section called Times Topics provides an online version of the venerable Times Index. It provides a simple way to find all the articles about a given topic. In the index, links to Times reporters have been italicized so visitors can easily find all of a specific reporter’s work with one click.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.