no secret that Web site redesigns are often badly received by their audiences -- at least at first -- as users struggle to navigate unfamiliar layouts and mourn the loss of favorite features that
didn’t make the cut. The redesign of The New York Times
’ Web site is no exception, generating a substantial volume of complaints and criticism along with kudos from users, media
pundits and design buffs.
In a blog post on Monday, NYT
public editor Margaret Sullivan said she received about 1,000 comments and hundreds of emails related to the redesign
-- many (but not all) from readers complaining about the new Web site.
According to Sullivan, the top five complaints concerned the new font being too small and hard to read; difficulty
printing off stories in hard copy; confusion about navigation, including the absence of the old site index on the left side of the home page; the seeming disappearance of cartoons; and difficulty
reading and making comments.
Sullivan offered readers tips to render the font more readable and ease navigation to favorite features that moved -- including the cartoons, which are
still there. But she also noted that some of the issues stem from real design problems that must be addressed. The latter category includes the printing problem, which may be resolved by offering a
text-only option with a format that lends itself to printing, and the commenting issues, which should be resolved when technical glitches are ironed out.
One element of the redesign
is definitely here to stay: native advertising.
The new ad product kicked off earlier this month with a campaign by Dell, scheduled to last three months, combining native units and
traditional banner-type display ads. In an interview, digital media watcher Rebecca Lieb, NYTCO executive vice-president for advertising Meredith Kopit Levien, who previously helped lead
’ pioneering native ad effort, revealed plans for another native campaign from Intel in the first quarter, among other ad clients