Leaps Into Web 2.0

    December 13, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

The massive news site has revamped its look and feel, added a section for top stories in the blogosphere, and enabled users to comment and post stories directly to the site. Leaps Into Web 2.0
Topix Revamps Look and Feel hinted at the forthcoming changes during an interview WebProNews conducted with Chris Tolles, VP for Sales and Marketing (read it here and here). Now those changes have arrived with a relaunch of the news portal.

Users who have grown accustomed to the subdued blues and greys of will see that has been replaced with a bright orange box atop the page, more whitespace throughout the site, and larger fonts for stories. Topix still mixes stories from blogs and news sources in its categories, but the shaded background used to identify blog posts has been eliminated in favor of a small white ‘B’ on an orange dot.

The home page for Topix contains a Top Stories in the Blogosphere box. That and several other topics on the home page displayed in shaded boxes can be dragged and dropped to change their order of display. Individual boxes can be closed by clicking the X, and new topic boxes can be added by searching for them.

Topix has continued to embrace tagging, a simple way of categorizing stories. Clicking a tag takes visitors to related stories where that particular tag, like “George Bush,” has been applied.

Each news story displayed on Topix can be commented on by users. A Comment? Link on stories invites new users to register and existing users to post a comment in blog fashion. Comments appear in a separate message forum-style display. Topix uses ‘captchas’ to thwart automated commenting.

By encouraging user contributions to the news Topix displays, the site hopes to build traffic and increase the value of its brand. Users who would rather not bother building and updating a blog themselves can post stories and comment on others on Topix.

Users can submit stories to Topix, for any of its 360,000 categories. Those users have to agree to Topix editorial rules: “no profanity and no personal attacks, and no attacks on race, creed or national origin. Be polite.”

Topix also recommends users follow basic journalism rules when creating stories, like checking facts, writing in a clear and interesting way, and answering the six typical questions (Who, What, Where, When, How, and Why).

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