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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: April 6, 2009 @ 1:48 pm

    New week, new look

    Ciara O'Brien

    The Irish Times has a new homepage. Which, if you’re reading this, chances are you’ve already noticed. Love it? Hate it?

    • Anthony says:

      Didn’t actually notice it, cos I didn’t scroll down on the home page. But now that I’ve had a look, like it!

    • Kynos says:

      Hmmm. Where’s the breaking news poll accessible from then? The Obituaries? One thing I miss about the broadsheet (which I still buy at weekends but rarely read) is the way the eye can scan a multitude of items in a flat coherent plane and speedread all before settling into two or three for a more detailed perusal. The new format seems to be an improvement on the last in that regard. But I’ll hold further comment (other than a big fat thanks, as always, for bringing us the best and generally being a decent old steward of the common weal) until I find out where our old Breaking News Poll is going to be accessible from. Probably the Agriculture section. Or the Used Cars. Or somewhere suitably humble like that.

    • Kynos says:

      Yep. I like it.

    • Kynos says:

      Did I really? Well I’ll say it again. Yep. I like it.

    • Arlene says:

      Good layout, similiar to UK Guardian, but would benefit from further colour (eg the Guardian uses colour to break up the sections)

    • Dave Dublin says:

      It has too much Kynos on it. Already.

    • Eileen says:

      It’s very busy. Could be a bit easier to navigate.

    • Paul Nash says:

      Good idea. Old news should be segregated more clearly, and whitespace reduced further to increase content — no web page should have too much continuous content, but what this kind of page, which is not continuous, needs is as many headlines and top sentences as possible.

    • Kynos says:

      I aim to please, Decorous.

    • Mat says:

      The Editors Choice carousel could be better done. Transitions are slooooow and it feels very unresponsive to use. Plus show how many items are in the carousel and let me stop/pause it.

    • Claire says:

      Has it changed … hmmm

    • pmagnier says:

      There are more links available to articles which is much better. There should be even more in my opinion.

    • Oscar says:

      Definitely like it. It’ll take a while for people to get used to it. The one thing about change is that people, being slaves of habit, will always be a bit reticent at the beginning. For me the big change is being able to comment on articles. That was sorely needed. The old BB was like a newspaper variation of the Joe Duffy show: all volley ball debate, dial a mug, fake characters, straight jacket censorship orchestrated by the back room producer to get an entertaining show going. I guess it symbolised the Celtic Tiger years – a time of mindless banter to occupy the skulls on the their mind numbing jobs. The times have changed and the old BB looked out of sync with the current reality. Anyway, as a general rule, I’m not too hot on the Yes/No format which tends to simplify debates and dig trench lines. Just look at Ireland’s history with referenda (basically yes/no questions) Being asked to side on a question can lead to wonkiness and turn people against each other. Much, much, much better to let people comment on journalist’s articles and share ideas. No polarisation. Ireland as a society needs new ideas and above all a new generation of brighter brains working together. Of all the things that represents a dark future, I believe, it is the current talent vacuum in Irish politics and RTE. Such blandness at the summit of the state’s political and media system. How many smart Irish journalists went off to work in London? Look at the state of RTE’s programming compared to any neighbouring country of your choice! You could count the good TV and radio shows on one hand. And unfortunately that’s not something you can change quickly. It runs deep – it’s cultural – 80 years of Fianna Fail domination has lead to a populist, chancer, wishy washy, talent-extinguishing system. However to change the rules of the debate, raise the standards, reduce the populism and generally up the ante will benefit the brighter talents and show up the intellectually limited chancers. Look at Obama’s influence on America after 8 years of Bush. I believe that only brilliance can change things. Complaining just isn’t enough. Only bright talents being given space in newspapers and on airwaves will touch people, inspire them to get involved, will get people caring in the right way. So yes, beyond aesthetics I think this new website format is definitely a good thing for the Irish media. Encourage people to comment on articles. Well done for questioning yourselves. Lead by example.

    • comfysofa says:

      Like it. The older version had far too little content on the front page.

      Only negatives:

      1. Still don’t like the big ad on the right of the homepage… you can’t possibly be maximising the traffic/ revenue through the existing ad layout

      2. The black box at the bottom of the page drags it down a bit.

      3. Too much white space at the bottom of the page.

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