By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions wins major design award

Except for the Pulitzers (which are being announced next week), I try to stay away writing about journalism awards. There are so many that this could become little more than an awards blog if I opened the door.

This, though, seems worth an exception: has just been named the “World’s Best Designed website” by the Society for News Design. Here is some of what the judges had to say:

The re-launch of decisively raised the bar for digital news design. The Globe’s intrepid embrace of responsive design rewrote the equation of our industry’s expectations and ambitions and defined state-of-the-art across the Web. Most importantly, the site embraces the increasingly chaotic ecosystem of devices without sacrificing thoughtfulness or splintering user experience.

“Responsive design” refers to the fact that the Globe’s website senses whether you are using a computer, a tablet, a smartphone or some other device and automatically adjusts its appearance accordingly. I wrote about that last fall for the Nieman Journalism Lab a few weeks before the site made its debut.

Coincidentally, last night my Reinventing the News students at Northeastern visited the Globe Lab, where they heard from several members of the Globe’s technology team, including Miranda Mulligan, design director for and is at the heart of the Globe’s efforts to persuade readers to pay for online content. The paper is off to something of a slow start in that regard — about 16,000 digital-only subscribers at last count. But its technology is innovative and excellent. It’s nice to see that being recognized.

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  1. Mike Benedict

    So we are feting the Globe for…get this…a style sheet? Seriously?

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Mike: If you followed the link to the SND’s rather short announcement and read it, you’d know the answer to that: no.

  2. Christian Avard

    Dan, what do you think about the new e-Globe? I just got it. So far, so good. Very interesting.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Christian: I find that the ePaper is as bad as any other PDF version on a computer, but is surprisingly usable on an iPhone or iPad. Still, it’s like a singing dog — you don’t expect it to sing well. You’re just impressed that it can sing at all. I much prefer the website.

  3. L.K. Collins

    Slick as a banana peel, but it’s not bringing home the bagels.

  4. Jim Morris

    First let me state I’m not a Globe basher. I think it’s a fine paper and I’m happy to pay for home delivery on Sunday and full on-line access. The problem is that I find the new website to be so difficult to read, use and navigate that I am now spending far less time on the Globe’s site than I once did and I am reading far less of their content as well. Perhaps it works better on tablets, but I am using both a desktop (Windows XP) and a laptop (Windows 7) and I dislike the experience on both.
    Why do I have to keep signing in? First I sign in to Bostondotcom and if I want to comment on an article I probably have to sign in a 2nd time. Then when I go to the other side of the Boston Globe pay wall a 3rd sign-in is required.
    I know that you occasionally comment on articles. Don’t you find it a frustrating experience? First of all the type in the comment box is so small that I can barely read what I’m typing. If I want to click like or dislike it is particularly annoying. Click like on a comment and the page reloads and deposits you back at the top of the page. You then have to scroll down through the entire article to get back to your previous position and if you want to like or dislike another comment you go through that whole procedure again.
    When I go to the NYTimes site everything is laid out in a logical order. I sign in once. The page doesn’t jump all over the place as it formats and reformats. It may not be cutting edge in term of visual design, but I can find what I need and I can read it and without the considerable aggravation I find when I try to do the same on the Globe’s site.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Jim: You’re not the only person I’ve heard complain about having to keep signing in to For some reason, that hasn’t been my experience. I seem to stay signed in for weeks at a time, both on my laptop and my iPhone. So I’m not sure what’s going on with you and others.

      I do think the Globe needs one more option. I like the speed and design of, but I do feel as though I’m jumping around a lot, and I wonder whether I’ve read “the paper” or just found a few articles here and there. I still think GlobeReader is pretty good, and it would work fine on your laptop, though I get the sense that the Globe is letting it wither on the vine.

      The Globe’s ePaper isn’t bad on an iPad, but I’ve tried it on my laptop and I don’t like it for anything more than just a little bit of poking around.

  5. Jim Morris

    “You’re not the first person I’ve heard complain about having to sign in repeatedly. But I’m puzzled, because I stay signed in for weeks at a time, moving back and forth between my laptop and my iPhone. Not sure what’s going on.


    As a security measure I clear out my cookies on a somewhat irregular basis, usually about once a week. After clearing out my cookies I then have to re-sign into all websites requiring registration. The Globe is the only one I can think of which requires multiple sign-ins. Even when I am already signed in to Bostondotcom I usually, but not always, have to sign in a 2nd time to leave a comment.

  6. I can’t stand the site, and I’m going there a lot less than I used to. The front page seems to have the same three or four articles listed over and over under different headings, while other articles are impossible to find. And to read the comics, you have to read a strip, go back to the index, choose another strip… Their Globe Reader has a more functional design, but it’s obvious that they just port the content over without editing or proofreading it, which is annoying. Major glitches go unfixed for days.

    The New York Times iPad app gets my vote for best newspaper app. Given that the Times owns the Globe, I don’t know why they don’t have a similar Globe app. I have gone digital-only with the Globe but if they don’t improve, I’m going to drop my subscription altogether.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Brigid: I find I’m using Times Skimmer (same as the Times app but ported over for computers) less and less because of suspicions about stuff that’s getting left out. (No corrections, among other things.) I’m going to do a study one of these days.

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