Telegraph.co.uk unveiled its new look website this week, with the stated aim of increasing the number of pages each visitor views on the site.
We’ve taken a look to see how it shapes up…
The redesigned Telegraph website now has a lot more white space and less clutter than the previous version. The left hand navigation has been removed to make more space for articles, and fewer headlines are displayed above the fold than before.
Some critics on the site’s comments section have likened the new version to MailOnline, and there are similarities in the look, though the Mail has a more cluttered, tabloid style look.
Telegraph.co.uk’s digital editor Edward Roussel has said that the aim of the revamp was to increase the average number of pages each visitor views (currently this figure is 16 per month) by making it easier to find content.
With this in mind, the navigation has been improved, with a single top navigation bar replacing the previous mixture of top and left hand menus.
The homepage gives users eight major categories to go to, news, sport, travel etc, while sub-categories are shown when you visit each of these sections:
The newspaper says that around 50% of the traffic to the site comes via search and not necessarily via the homepage, so linking to related content has been improved.
Next to each article, a list of related stories is showcased, along with the ‘Editor’s choice’ of the day’s more interesting articles:
What seems to be missing though, is a box displaying the most read / most commented articles, something which most other news sites have adopted.
This can be an excellent way to get visitors interested in articles and video on the site, and is something I tend to look for when browsing through newspaper websites.
The site has done a better job of promoting its video content; many articles are now accompanied by embedded videos, which are likely to attract more views when displayed in this way.
The automatic playing of some of the video content can be extremely irritating though, and this is something the Telegraph should sort out. If a user wants to watch a video and listen to audio, let them choose.
For example, if you visit the travel section of the site, a video on golfing holidays starts playing. If you have already started scrolling down the page, then you have to scroll back up and find the mute / pause button.
This is intrusive when the user is not expecting it, and can be especially awkward if you are indulging in a little clandestine surfing at work…
One thing I really like about the Telegraph site is the blogs section, MyTelegraph, where readers can create their own blog pages.
This is an excellent way of getting people engaged in the site, which will make it more likely that they will return to the debate, as well as viewing other sections of the site.
You might think that the newspaper would give this prominent coverage on the homepage, but the only link to MyTelegraph is virtually buried in the footer where many visitors will miss it.
A better idea would be to promote the most interesting / most commented blog posts on the homepage, as well as on related news articles.
Compare the site with TimesOnline, for instance. On this site, most read/commented/curious stories are promoted above the fold, while choice quotes from columnists are shown on the top right and around the homepage to entice readers in.
In addition, allowing comments on more main news stories would be a good way to get readers more engaged, creating more page views as they check back to see how the debate is progressing.
As is frequently the case with newspaper redesigns, reader reaction has not been enthusiastic, with complaints including the similarities with the recently revamped MailOnline website, as well as the automatic video playing I mentioned above.
The new website has a cleaner, less cluttered look than the previous version, and by losing the side navigation menu has managed to make better use of space.
However, considering that the aim of the redesign is to increase page views, it could have done a better job of promoting content via the homepage, especially in the case of the reader’s blogs section.