The New York Times is about to unveil a major redesign of its Web site, with a new configuration resembling a mobile app. The new look, previewed here, promises to simplify navigation and allow readers to organize content according to their own interests.
The prototype currently on display shows content arranged in a single long, scrollable column, in a format that will be familiar to mobile readers.
The text is broken up by several large pictures, video screens, and slide shows. At the top of the page, links to other articles in the same section are displayed in the form of a row of tiles containing pictures and headlines; readers can scroll right and left in this section to see other articles.
Boxes showing other popular articles and comments on the current article appear in the right-hand column, along with a few square-shaped display ads. (It’s not clear if the ad format is set or still being tweaked; in the sample shown, the ads were for another NYT product). The comments section can be expanded to share the screen with the original article, allowing comments to be read in context. Social sharing and email options are displayed in a column on the left side of the article.
The new format appears to be geared to tablet computers. The prototype page also showed a sample article displayed on an iPad, with a similar if not identical format. The site also offers new navigation options, for example allowing readers to create a list of shortcuts to their favorite sections and content categories.
The New York Times is banking on circulation revenues from digital subscriptions to sustain the business amid continuing declines in print advertising revenues. At the end of 2012, the company had a total of 668,000 paid digital subscriptions. Total circulation revenues for the year increased 10.4% from $863 million in 2011 to $953 million in 2012.