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Globe And Mail Redesign Elicits 695 Strong Reactions

Well, you have to grant “The Globe & Mail”: props for “asking for comments”: on their redesigned site. They finally killed the feedback form after getting *695* comments making up “one *very* long page!”:
Reactions are pretty polarized with some love going out to the new look but the “no” side is clearly much more vocal. I guess this is understandable. The site had a major change and given the massive audience for the site it is unavoidable that there will be lots of people angry enough to voice their ire.

I’d suggest that the G&M web team take heart in knowing that there are hundreds of thousands of people visiting the site NOT angry enough to complain. (That was supposed to be encouraging, really)
Personally I love it. My “job”: is to find flaws in corporate web sites so while I could make a long list of things that could be tweaked and enhanced I’d rather focus on the important steps forward the site has taken towards becoming a model for early 21st Century media:
# The site is built to web standards and pretty much validates.
# This thing is really one giant blog – most everything is timestamped, permalinked, and allows for comments. And the comment sections are filling up on many of the posts, sorry, articles. Talk about a conversation!
# The sign-up forms and processes are really nice – very easy to use.
# More than “85 feeds”:
# Even the dreaded paywall on older articles looks good.
I think the web design team should be proud of this – I’m sure it was a *massive* undertaking and they can see all kinds of compromises they needed to make along the way but it is still a big step forward.
But that’s just my opinion.
Now that the G&M has closed comments on the site we’ll open them here. Feel free to dive in with your thoughts, pro or con, but let’s try to be constructive folks – we’re all professionals here!


  1. June Macdonald
    June Macdonald February 8, 2006

    I wasn’t sure when I first saw it. But I like being able to see more content links from the home page, especially the columnists who were previously a little buried lower down.
    Still miss the old masthead (at least the script style) and find the ad next to it annoying. But as the editor and designer said in their forum, the ads are paying their salary…
    There were complaints I read about the font, but I really like it, easier to read, especially big for those of us who need to update our reading prescription.
    Still don’t know where to find the trivia contest info…

  2. Jeff Coleman
    Jeff Coleman February 8, 2006

    I studied Journalism in the mid 80s. The big thing in those days was the design of the Globe and Mail. The print edition of course was known for their Headline Editors who had this innate gift of being able to come up with a catchy headline (and could tell you the font, point size and kerning necessary to make it work — all without checking) so the headline could fit EXACTLY to the pica the width of whatever it had to span (one column, two column, three..). As students we worked with wax and did our own mockups and all of us had the opportunity to appreciate the challenge that came with that job. Those editors for the G&M were the standard bearers of their time. Who is the standard bearers today? And who are the ones who are now the legends in the business for being able to execute quickly and with the same ease?

  3. David McLachlan
    David McLachlan February 8, 2006

    I think the reason folks are as upset as they are rests with how the Globe handled the transition.
    I think the best writing on this subject is a piece Jared Spool did in 2003 called “The Quiet Death of the Major Re-Launch”.
    Here’s an excerpt followed by the link:
    “The VP leaned forward and asked me, “How do we orchestrate a re-launch on a site this big without upsetting our customers? Any change is going to be so dramatic that people are definitely going to complain. How do we do this?”
    I leaned back in my chair, paused for a second, then dropped the bomb. “You don’t, ” I responded. “A re-launch is a very bad idea. I highly recommend against it.”

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