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.
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:
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.
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:
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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