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Tis the season to redesign. CNN recently launched a new look for CNN.com, and now news service Reuters has launched a new look for Reuters.com.

But while CNN.com's redesign was all about the content, Reuters' redesign is all about the focus. The new Reuters.com design is all about one thing: making the website a much more attractive destination for consumers.

It's not the easiest time to be a news service like Reuters. paidContent points out:

As the internet has begun to cut into the demand for the kind of news services offered by Reuters and its rivals, Bloomberg and the Associated Press, all three companies have begun looking to capture a more general, consumer audience.

That's pretty clear from the words of Reuters Editor-in-Chief David Schlesinger:

This is our redesign, a year in the making. That’s a year of extensive discussions with people like you, our elite audience of business professionals, about what would make the site better and faster and easier to use for you as you drive business activity around the world.

We want this to be the world’s best website covering business and finance news, analysis, and opinion. Full stop.

We want you to be able to come for a quick glance at the top headlines, or a longer deep dive into a topic that’s important to you. We want you to scan the output of the 2,800 men and women or hone in on a favorite writer or photographer.

This site is for you; we want it to be your ticket to a wealth of news, information, and analysis presented in a cutting-edge format, including text, video, pictures, graphics, user interaction, and personalization features (try the new toolbar at the bottom of every page).

Put simply, it's all about you. And in this case, I think that's a good thing.

The new Reuters.com homepage is, for lack of a better word, simple. Unlike CNN.com, for instance, which I called 'crammed', there's a lot more room here. The headline story sports a font your grandfather could probably read, the list of headlines has ample spacing, and the Issues in Depth feature boxes to the right mix visuals and just the right amount of text. Navigation-wise, there's a drop-down up top allowing users to select the edition of their choice, and rolling over the three main navigation buttons (News & Markets, Sectors & Industries, Analysis & Opinion) brings up a nicely-done DHTML 'box' with featured content and links.

Interestingly, Reuters.com was redesigned by the same group that worked on the new  CNN.com. So the differences between Reuters.com and CNN.com highlight the fact that each company is employing a different strategy. Whereas it's clear that ad placement played a big role in CNN.com's redesign, Reuters is hoping that less is more. According to paidContent:

Instead of hitting readers over the head with placements, Reuters is mainly relying on limiting the amount of ads on a page. The hope is it can offer less cluttered ad space in return for higher prices.

It may not be a bad strategy, as more inventory rarely means better yield. But for this strategy to work, Reuters will have to first prove that it can rework its brand online. Despite my personal interest in the subjects Reuters covers, for instance, I almost always discover Reuters stories through websites that they're syndicated to. The new Reuters.com looks to be a good start in the company's effort to turn its website into a consumer destination, but it's only a start.

Patricio Robles

Published 4 December, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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