The redesign, Slate's first in three years, aims to optimize the site for wider screens and faster connections. "One of the main reasons is that the design that Slate previously used was at a time when people had smaller screens with lower resolution, and when far less people were on broadband," said Slate Publisher Cliff Sloan.
The site now includes a new ad unit at the top-right of the front page dubbed "The Sweet Spot," which measures 264 pixels wide by 120 pixels high, and another placed at a break in articles' texts called "The Insider," measuring 446 pixels wide by 33 pixels high.
The revamped site also features more content on the front page, Sloan said. "We're able to highlight much more content on the home page, we're able to make many features much easier to find, and we're able to highlight the content that people want," he said. "Later this year, we're looking to make a big push into video also, and we think the redesign will allow us to highlight our video offerings as well."
Slate, currently an ad-supported free site, briefly went to a paid model in 1998, Sloan said. "Ultimately, Slate concluded that that was not the model that Slate wanted to follow, and ever since then, we've been a very open site," Sloan said.
Sloan added that after the Washington Post Company purchased Slate.com in January 2005, the site has focused on including innovative or unusual ad units. "We've made it a priority to have it be known as a site that's especially innovative," said Sloan. "We're always trying to lead the way and try new and different things with out ads, to make sure that the advertiser can communicate with our audience as effectively as possible."