In a bid to catch up with its tabloid rivals online, Mirror.co.uk launched the first stage of its website redesign last week, starting with a new look for the homepage.
We’ve taken a look at the site to see what other improvements have been made…
Changes to the homepage include a new masthead, while there is much more emphasis on photo and video content, matching the look of the print version.
It doesn’t seem to be doing a great job of promoting the latest news and sports stories above the fold.
There are three boxes just under the header, showing the latest gossip, sports and news, but the links to other news items on the right are in very small text compared with the rest of the page, so they don’t stand out very well.
If you scroll further down the page, articles are promoted more prominently, accompanied by photos, so why not promote the top stories a bit further up where they are more likely to be clicked on?
There are some good features on the homepage, which help users to find something of interest on the site. This table showing the top five stories in various sections of the site is a useful way of promoting the content:
Below this, the most popular / top rated / most emailed box is an excellent way of drawing people in. I always look for these boxes on news sites as it is a good way of browsing for interesting content.
Like Telegraph.co.uk, which we looked at earlier this week, The Mirror has ditched the left hand navigation, leaving more space on the page for other content.
Now users can go to ten sections of the website by using the top navigation bar. This is fine if you just want to select the main category, but selecting any of the subcategories requires some dexterity with your mouse.
As you hover your cursor over any of the main categories, the sub-categories change according to the section, then you need to move the mouse across horizontally to select the one you want.
This is not especially good for user experience, as you can easily move the mouse the wrong way and have to start again. This is sure to frustrate a few people.
There is much more emphasis on multimedia on the site, and the video content is prominently promoted on the front page, both alongside the various stories, and through this box:
The Daily Mirror lags behind its tabloid (and broadsheet) rivals online at the moment, so a revamp of its website is long overdue.
According to ABCe figures for May, Mirror.co.uk had just 4.8m unique users, well behind Sun Online on 14.9m and Mail Online with 18.7m.
The new site is an improvement on the previous version, and is much more visually appealing, with some good features to promote its news and video content on the homepage.
It is fairly cluttered, but this matches the style of the print version, and it is much less so than Mail Online, for instance. The Daily Mail has packed a lot into it homepage, which leaves users with a lot of scrolling to do, as well as slowing down load times.
By contrast, Mirror.co.uk has kept it relatively simple; the homepage is smaller, and the content seems much more organised and easier to find.
One thing I would have liked to see more is promotion of blogs and user generated content on the homepage, as well as allowing visitors to comment on news stories, not just in the blogs section of the site.
This would be a good way of making the site more sticky, by involving users in debates and getting them to return to check their progress.