Star's New Website Goes Big and Easy

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Star‘s New Website Goes Big and Easy

20091006starredesign.jpg
At long last, the Star has a new layout for its website, and it’s—large. The site’s editorial team describes it as “giv[ing readers] more options for finding the news,” and it does indeed do just that in a rather neat way, with three new styles for their home page in addition to Standard View (pictured above): Visual News, with a tile of photos; Timeline View, which shows the most recent stories added; and Grid View, which is a little like Visual News, but with more text than photos. There are slight tweaks throughout, too. Comments are now on separate pages from articles, thank God, and the paper’s RSS feeds finally have small thumbnails in many articles.

It may not be the most elegant or the most graceful layout, but it seems to serve its purpose better than the Star’s old site did—it is a lot simpler. That simplicity, though, comes at the expense of aesthetics, and the site’s relentless organization into grids of the same width and height whether or not you’re in a grid view (scroll down the main page of the new layout) makes it look and feel a lot more like a news aggregator than a news website. That, and its unabashed big-ness (just look at the comments section of any article), coupled with the site’s homepage breaking in various different ways if you try to zoom out yourself in your browser, makes the experience of spending any significant amount of time finding articles or lingering on the Star‘s home page feel more than a little exhausting.
The Star is careful to note that the new layout “is not a finished product—it will change as we go.” It’s just a little hard to tell so far if the change is a progression or a regression.
Thanks to reader Jesse Morgan for the tip.

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