The Guardian has updated its blogs section to bring it in line with the rest of the site, while navigation and comment functionality has also been improved.

Guardian showbiz blog

At first glance, the new design looks pretty good, but we’ve taken a closer look to find out more…

Comments 

Comment sections on popular sites like The Guardian need to be handled carefully. Newspapers need to make it easy enough to add comments to keep the debate going, but still need to prevent abuse of the system.

Comment functionality has been improved, and one handy feature is the new expanded user profiles, which now gives you much more information about the people leaving comments.

Guardian blog - user profiles

Clicking on a name of someone leaving comments will take you to their profile page which, if they have filled it out, will give some brief biographical details as well as a list of all the other comments left by that user.

If you have spotted a troll, or object to someone’s abusive or spam comments you can report them via their profile now, which saves having to send an email: 

Guardian blogs report abuse

Comments on an article are now displayed in chronological order, which makes sense as it enables you to follow the discussion as it happened, especially when there are a lot of comments to go through.

Guardian blog comments

Links

Keywords within blog post will now be used to link to related content in the rest of the site; a feature which was previously unavailable.

A ‘most talked about’ widget shows which articles on the site are most popular in the blogosphere, ranked according to the number of time they have been linked to.

Navigation

Instead of sitting in their own separate section of the Guardian website, the blogs have now been added to the relevant areas of the site – news blogs in news area, and so on.

Blog content is also well promoted from the homepage, with a box showing the most commented and most recent posts. The same box also promotes articles within the blog themselves:

Blog navigation

Conclusion

The Guardian has made some good improvements here, and bringing the design into line with the rest of the site has made all of the blogs more visually appealing.

I like what the newspaper has done with the comment functionality – comments are uploaded quickly, so a debate can develop at a natural pace, while the user profiles provide some useful background information on people that are leaving comments.

The display of comments on popular posts can be a problem, as it’s often a bit of a chore to go through 50+ comments, so some Digg-style organisation might be useful here.

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