Posted by Kerri Sorrell
Finally, someone has thrown traditional online news site design out the window. With its recent web overhaul, USA TODAY chucked it 114 glorious stories down.
In the past two weeks, USA TODAY has rolled out a comprehensive platform overhaul to celebrate its 30th anniversary, complete with print, web and mobile redesigns. Say what you will about the reputation of the organization and its content, but there’s a reason it’s the number two most circulated paper in the nation: its brand. With its latest revamp, USA TODAY has proved it’s winning the race in understanding online readers.
A few reasons why the web redesign is gold:
1. It puts visuals first. In typical USA TODAY fashion, photos reign supreme. Each section has a flashy slider, followed by grids of photos, a highlighted gallery and icon-driven navigation. Each component of the site is easily organized and given room to breathe. It’s refreshing.
2. Finally, a great user experience. Holy website, we’ve entered tablet world! USA TODAY has significantly reduced the amount of pages you’re visiting with a simple concept: layers. Instead of taking you to another page for every link, content pops to the front, leaving the main page shaded behind. When you’re done, simply click the “X” and find yourself back where you started. As Julia Moos of Poynter put it, “there is no ‘back’.”
3. Brand integration. Above all else, USA TODAY knows branding (no, I’m not talking about the big blue ball). Print, web, tablet and mobile are now integrated more fully than any other news organization, providing readers and users a comprehensive experience. No need to adjust to different platforms when they’re all based on the same concept.
4. It’s giving new life to a dead online advertising model – and making it better for the site, too. That 300×250 no longer the first thing you see. The new site provides a seamless canvas for advertisers to incorporate their ads within content. Pop outs that don’t disrupt page layout, sponsored sections and multimedia integration are just a few examples of what I’m sure we’ll see from a reimagined platform.
5. Details. If you’re still not convinced, dig a little deeper. It only takes one look at the staff index, video aggregation page, the search or cover flow to realize how much development went into this site.
What’s your opinion of the redesign? How do you think this will impact other news sites in the future?