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The Financial Times began rolling out changes to its website earlier this week, with a new look and very pink homepage being the first major update.  

 Redesigned FT.com homepage

This is the first stage of an ongoing redesign process and so far it looks like a big improvement. I've taken a closer look at the changes...

FT.com has been replaced on the masthead by "Financial Times" which, along with the pink background, brings the site more in line with its print counterpart.

The homepage is now laid out in a way that makes it much more readable. There is more blank space in the background, and headlines and section headings are in bigger, more scannable text.

The previous homepage now appears more cluttered. It also looks better now that the site has been centred, and the blank space on the right hand side has gone:

old FT homepage

The navigation, which previously took up the left hand side of the page now lies under the header, with drop down menus helping to reduce the space taken up on the page.

This certainly tidies up the page, but drop down menus can be a usability problem, and having to click on the arrow to see the sub sections may be an irritation to some users.

This follows the convention for other recent newspaper website revamps, and does have the benefit of making it easier for the reader to navigate to different category pages from wherever they happen to be on the site.

The freed up space gives more room for headlines to be shown, and the FT.com is a lot less cluttered then other news sites as a result.

This may be partly due to the site's subscription model. With this income, it doesn't necessarily have to rely on attracting the attention of visitors from search engines, so doesn't have to cram all its content on the homepage.

The Financial Times now has around 800,000 registered users, since it altered its subscription model last year. Registered users can access 30 articles a month free of charge.

The site has 100,000 subscribers and also claims record traffic thanks to the recent economic woes. The last ABCe figures for March give the site 7.1m users, up nearly 2m year on year.

New FT.com

Some useful boxes on the right hand side provide quick links for the site's readers. The latest market figures, top five in depth categories, and five most popular articles.

This is becoming another convention for news sites, and is no bad thing too, as it gives casual or first time visitors something to catch their attention.

While much of the rest of the website is yet to catch up with the new look homepage, the techblogs section has also been revamped, and is looking pretty good too:

FT Tech blog

Though it has broadly followed the conventions of several other recent newspaper website redesigns, more blank space, top navigation etc; it still retains a unique look.

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Related articles:
Is "community" a panacea for ailing newspapers?
Newspapers - the good news and the bad news

Graham Charlton

Published 13 November, 2008 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (5)

Mihkel Jäätma

Mihkel Jäätma, Founding Partner at Realeyes

I personally find this new FT design hard to consume - lack of contrast between headings and content confuses, menu items don't stand out very well.

White space can sometimes be the best design element of all, but in this case it feels misused and just clutters design elements apart. Of course everyone can have their personal opinion and only proper user testing will give the right answer.

almost 8 years ago

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Rob Lewis

My initial thoughts were that the background colour really doesn't work on screen (perhaps it is my monitor though?) and as Mihkel mentions, although they've tried to give it more whitespace, something doesn't look quite right. Perhaps the spacing isn't quite there. I think it could do with something seperating each news story, rather than just whitespace.

Overall, it's probably a step in the right direction, but I think they've got a little work to do to get it just right.

almost 8 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

I'm with Mihkel and Rob on this one... there's not enough contrast on the homepage, the result of painting your website pink.

There are some good things going on but the look and feel isn't doing it for me.

almost 8 years ago

Ashley Friedlein

Ashley Friedlein, Founder, Econsultancy & President, Centaur Marketing at Econsultancy, Centaur MarketingStaff

Yes, I fear I agree that there is not enough contrast - too soft, and I'm not clear where I'm meant to be looking. Eyetracking would be interesting to see on it but I find myself gazing a little bit everwhere but nowhere in particular. Probably a few small changes would fix it.

almost 8 years ago

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Richard

I'm afraid I agree too, the text is now huge and childish looking and also means you can only see at most 3 stories' headlines when you enter the site. The two search boxes (previously one for news, one for company quotes) have been reduced to one, with each now accessed through a drop-down menu. This starts to become annoying the tenth time you have to go click on the little arrow to search company quotes. There used to be a useful menu section down the side, now gone. It's a serious step backwards in both look and functionality.

almost 8 years ago

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