Newsweek.com Redesign: Your Dam For The Flood

Newsweek.com Redesign

The folks at Newsweek unveiled a new redesign for their website today, nearly one and a half years since their last one. From a post about the new changes, the redesign aims to help visitors sift through the “flood of information on news and events every minute of every day” by “continuously filter[ing] it to find the most important stories and concepts for our audience” while “embrace[ing] the best work of other journalists around the Web and the most thoughtful questions and comments of our readers” in order to “create a forum for a continuous – and continuously worthwhile – conversation about key events and issues”. If only their writing was as simple as their new header.

Newsweek Header: New vs Old

The new Newsweek header (top) is much cleaner with a softer tone and less emphasis on the bold red associated with the magazine. Simple, clean headers seem to be a rising trend on news sites these days as usability and user experience become more of a focus. The old header (bottom) had a sense of authority while this new header design is toned down, as if to convey a lack of confidence in their place in the world. I am not a fan of the rotating headline ticker which clutters up the otherwise clean navigation.

The content on the homepage is also a cluttered eye sore. There is no clear structure to the information and the auto-rotating carousel of feature stories is distracting. I dig the effort to link out to external sources. This is what the web is all about but it does come off as Newsweek giving up on its quest to be a news leader. This could have been executed better to complement their own content rather than outshine it.

My biggest problem is it is impossible to scan the homepage. The content appears to be laid out in a random order like an amateur scrap book. There is no central focal point except for that ginormous 336×850 ad on the right. Come on Newsweek, don’t you know about the F shaped reading pattern on the web? Why would the headlines be aligned along the right side of the page?

It still appears Newsweek is a print-focused organization with the attitude of “if you put it on the page, readers will read it”. Looking over at the old design, it seems this redesign is a step-back. In it’s efforts to be a guiding hand in filtering the flood of news, Newsweek has become nothing more than a dam clogging the flow of information. My advice: turn Newsweek.com into a repository of articles from the magazine and focus on that. The world doesn’t need an old media publication half-ass its web offerings.

Other Points of View:

Twitter Hackings Make Mainstream News

Screenshot of Twitter Hacking News on CNN.com

It seems like just yesterday that Twitter was an unknown start-up with a quirky idea. Now Twitter is definitely mainstream. News of the recent account hackings made the headlines of CNN.com. Apparently someone hacked into internal support tools used by Twitter to help their users. The hacker then tweeted from 33 prominent accounts including foxnews, barackobama, britneyspears and even CNN’s own ricksanchezcnn.

Screenshots of the defaced accounts can be seen in this Flickr pool.

This is in addition to a Twitter phishing attempt that happened over the weekend. When your site becomes the target of nefarious attacks then you know you have reached the big time.

How I Helped Get Two Co-Workers On TV

Paulo on Fox 5 News

My co-worker Paulo was on Fox 5’s News Edge at 11 last night. He shot some video of a large crowd at the Foggy Bottom metro station yesterday morning. For whatever reason two of the three escalators were stopped with the third going down. There were more people trying to go up and out of the station that a huge line formed as grumpy commuters trudged up the long flight of stairs. Some people even decided to go up against the moving escalator fighting the sparse crowd trying to enter.

With a little help from social networking and a lot more luck, Paulo’s footage made it onto the local news. Here is the chain of events:

  1. Paulo shoots the footage on his way to work.
  2. Paulo posts the footage to the DC-centric blog WeLoveDC.com.
  3. The story gets submitted to the social news site Digg.com where I throw my support behind it and give it my vote.
  4. Stories that I digg get posted to my mini-feed on Facebook because I have linked my Digg and Facebook accounts together.
  5. The dugg story ends up in a friends news feed who happens to work at Fox 5.
  6. My friend IMs me thinking I shot the video but I forward him on to Paulo.
  7. Fox 5 sets up an interview with Paulo later that afternoon.

And this is the final result.

Another co-worker Mike Weinstein (guy in blue shirt) made a brief appearance in the video by simply showing up at the same time as Paulo’s interview. I had nothing to do with that one.

Be sure to check out Paulo’s take on all of this.

Robbing Banks Isn’t Like The Movies

Bank Robbery For Dummies

The following is a brief synopsis of information reported to the Prince George’s County Police:

INCIDENT: Attempt Bank Robbery/Note
OCCURRED: February 29th at 12:40p.m.
LOCATION: 7406 Baltimore Avenue/Chevy Chase Bank
PGPD case #: 08-060-0765

On 02-29-08 @ 12:40p.m. the suspect entered the Chevy Chase Bank located at 7406 Baltimore Ave. College Park, MD.

The suspect approached the victim teller and passed a handwritten note to the victim. The victim advised that the note stated “$3000 NOW.” The victim advised that she acted confused by the suspects note and asked him for his account number. The suspect advised that he did not have one and in a low threatening tone stated “just give me the money.” The victim then asked the manager to come over and assist. The manager/witness came over to assist and asked the suspect some questions. The suspect then changed his story and advised that he wanted a cash advance. The suspect walked out of the bank and turned left, fleeing on foot.

(via Facebook Note by Matt Sinkiat)