By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Getting there

As I had assumed they would, the folks at today unveiled a much more attractive look for the online version of the Globe. Yes, it’s only cosmetic. But looks matter.

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  1. Amusedbutinformedobserver

    I actually liked the old Globe site, not having the story list against the left requires re-training my eye and the new scheme seems to downplay photos which is an area in which the Globe is underrated.The redesign is all about giving first screen prominence to advertising positions, which is a good thing actually, since good journalism is not free and making money from an on-line service will help support that.

  2. Dan Kennedy

    I think both the old site and, so far, the new site, are not consistently good about getting up every photo that’s in the paper. The online edition ought to be more photo-rich than the print edition, but so far that’s been a missed opportunity.

  3. bostonph

    What’s interesting (to me at least) is how closely it resembles the new look LA Times site. I personally think the Times did a better job, since the Globe site still feels cluttered and clunky and uses the top three-four inches of the page for ads and logos. The Times is cleaner and easier to navigate.

  4. Anonymous

    It’s really only an improvement at the top. As you scroll down, it’s as bad, probably worse, than before.And yes, looks do matter. Nonetheless, “Same lite content, glossy new look!” is an open invitation to ridicule.

  5. Sean Roche

    I don’t mean to be rude, but it’s just plain silly to call a web-site redesign “just cosmetic.”Every aspect of the redesign is going to either enhance or diminish usability, is going to affect how different stories and types of stories are promoted and read.Heck, even something that is initially more visually pleasing is going to have a measurable impact on how long a user stays on the page, which will have an effect on what the user reads and clicks on.It does not reflect well on a self-described new media critic to be so offhand about usability.

  6. Dan Kennedy

    Sean: By failing to note that I said “But looks matter,” you are arguing in bad faith. Every point you make is included under the “looks matter” umbrella.

  7. Sean Roche

    I’ll meet you half-way. You’re right that I neglected the “But looks matter” sentence. In my defense, I’ve always believed that writers and speakers are at least partially responsible for how people read their work. Which gets me to my defense, I don’t think “But looks matter” umbrella fully undoes “just cosmetic.” That “looks matter” isn’t some secondary point that modifies the primary point. “Looks matter” is the point.I don’t want to get bogged down in a semantic tussle, but I don’t think my original post was in bad faith. Maybe I wasn’t careful enough in my reading, but when the “usability” bell went off, I didn’t hear your secondary point so well.

  8. Anonymous

    I agree with bostonph – half-assed rip off of the new LAT site. I don’t see where Sean Roche gets his usability argument. The Globe site is no more or less usable than it was before.It just looks a little better.

  9. Sean Roche

    I was sloppy to the extent that I suggested an opinion one way or another on the new or Globe site.I was trying to make a larger usability point that changes to a web site, even seemingly small ones, have a significant impact on how the site is used. When it’s a site dedicated, at least in part, to news, the change in layout has an effect on what news is communicated to the public.That’s true of a newspaper or magazine design change, too. But, I think the effect is more pronounced on the interwebs.

  10. Stella

    Presentation is important in every facet of life. Oddly, for decades this Globe reader had an aversion to the primary font, however it did not cause a cessation of readership.

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