In an attempt to reconnect with its readers, German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung(FAZ) introduced a thematic and participatory website a few weeks ago.
The translation of The Kindly Ones, a blockbuster book wherever it’s been released, landed in German bookstores last Saturday, February 23. Its controversial content (sex, Nazis and sadism) makes it a favorite conversation topic among the quality-newspaper-reading population. FAZ decided to organize this conversation.Continue reading →
Today sees the Guardian Unlimited finally getting the makeover it’s been desperately needing since the print product made ‘Berliner’ a polite topic of conversation. For the moment it’s only the front page – as creative editor Mark Porter explains, it “will be a facade concealing a busy building site, as work proceeds on an 18-month programme to redesign and rebuild every part of GU.”
And GU editor-in-chief Emily Bell adds: “an iterative approach is the best. The days when one design or set of functionality on a website lasted for several years is gone, and our aim, with the help of our users, is to constantly improve and update the network, from the story pages to the section and network fronts.”
The design itself is what you’d expect from contemporary newspaper website design – cleaner and clearer (I’d have put money on the Georgia font), with bigger images and more width. It’s not a major change from the old design in terms of content – although the biggest weakness in usability terms is a ridiculously long page you have to scroll down five times to see in its entirety (and that’s on a decent resolution monitor). Yes, multimedia content is more prominent with a box of its own, but still not on the first ‘page’ of content (it’s below the fold, in old parlance).
And was it a coincidence they relaunched on the day Tony Blair is expected to resign? A clever move, if not.
Clearly both Emily and Mark have had a long night – their posts are time-stamped at 1.05 and 1.06am – so hopefully they’ll be enjoying a hard-earned rest this weekend.
“As debate online has become more diffuse – hundreds of thousands or millions of voices on each topic – it has become less helpful in a way,” she said. “The trend now online seems to be some sort of mediation and we think we might have a role there.”
[...] “she said that the 90,000 subscribers to FT.com represent a “rarified audience” including senior figures in business and politics across the world and “We have found that to some extent with the quality of audience we have got we can provoke the discussion”.”
And to think some people used to dream that the internet would give a voice to those without power…