Looks like MSNBC.com just got a new look.
It’s about time they did so. I was going to write a post about how MSNBC.com was really just a crappy news site, but at least now they’ve changed it to something more acceptable.
If you’ve never seen the old MSNBC site, consider yourself lucky. The whole layout was awful. On the home page, the fly-out options got in the way sometimes, news links were tossed down the whole page, the headline news was often boring, and not brought out well, I could go on and on about the front page. On the article page, that was worse as well. Article were usually squashed by the way the layout works. The whole right margin was for sponsored ads, and crammed between that, and the fly-out tabs, was the article + multimedia. The multimedia/extras made the article even more squished in the middle. It was just a mess the way it was implemented. And the multimedia looked less than professional.
All of the MSNBC site was a web design mess. For such a top news agency, their site is trash. So now they’ve fixed it.
The layout is much more cleaner and easier to sift through.
Key things being:
- Better MSN integration – all the other MSN content sites were getting the new header UI. Wonder what took MSNBC so long? Now you have the MSN icon in the top right along with the option to see other MSN sites.
- More organized – still can do better, but at least there seems to be less clutter everywhere
- Front page news feeds – You can see feeds right in the middle of the page. Has the latest headlines in each section
Well that’s about it. But it’s still bad in many places:
- The UI is still inconsistent throughout the MSNBC site – On some pages, like non-article pages and interactive pages, you still see the old ugly MSNBC UI. No very pleasant.
- Still too many ads – AT least there’s less distracting graphical ads. Mainly sponsored links/links to other news stories. Except for this one square ad in the middle of the article
- Articles still feel cramped – MSNBC still drops it’s multimedia/other news links modules right between the article and the sponsored links itself. It makes viewing the article much more crammed. Very annoying. It were me, they should have pushed the sponsored links further down the right margin, and place the so-called multimedia/other news links modules onto the wasted right margin.
- Lack of user article tools – there still a lack of ‘real’ tools. I’m looking for a toolbox-like thing, where you can view all your tools in a module, right next to the article. In a way so that it’s visible and easy to do. Things like 5-star rating, IM article, Add to MyFavs, stuff like that. Look at an IHT article, they do the toolbox thing write. In fact, IHT is pretty much one of the only news sites with a stylish nice look.
- Video content isn’t ON the site – instead, you get redirected to MSN Video. Stupid. I want to see this stuff ON the site’s page. NOT be redirect to other links to watch a dumb video
- Lack of comments – People want to comment. Allow them too. This maybe be a large news source, but is commenting that bad? For people who don’t like the idea of comments, they won’t see it. Just put an "extend all comments (# of comments)", as a drop down tab, right under the article. So if you want to comment, you press it, and the comment section of the article drops down. No silly forum or anything. Right on the article.
- No way to save Fav. Articles – sometime I may like to save this article. Not as a browser favorite, but just on that site, do I want to save it. So give user the option to have a MyFave sections about what articles they want to keep tabs on.
Well that’s the main things.
So I hope they continually update it. It’s just such a ridiculous site.
I don’t even know why I bother writing about this.
I’ll be trying to update more. I’ve been behind lately.