The worst redesign in newspaper history

is, I think what the FT has done to its site this week. What used to be a compact, elegant and clear display of a great deal of information for grownups is now like a mobile phone designed for the learning disabled. The number of stories and even of words visible at any time has dropped by about 80% but at the same time the screen has actually grown more cluttered because the new fonts are so large and the design so sprawling that there is nowhere to rest the eye.

It is even bigger and uglier than the Janet and John style of the Telegraph and the Telegraph can make two excuses: it was ugly before, which the FT’s old look was not; and it is is aimed at Telegraph readers who these days are split between the cataract disabled and the learning disabled.

The Financial Times, however, is aimed at the same audience as the Economist and the Wall Street Journal: literate grown-ups capable of processing a lot of information quickly. Hell, the average FT reader probably now owns a phone which could display as many stories and words from the old design as now can be fitted on my 19” monitor at home. To cap it all, the new site seems to load mores slowly than the old one.

There is only one consolation. Up till now the FT, almost alone among newspapers, has been able successfully to charge for access to its website, so that there is now one more practical way of expressing disgust than compulsively filling in the reader surveys they offer with their new pages. For the first time in my life I am gong to be able to write to a web site and cancel my subscription.

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3 Responses to The worst redesign in newspaper history

  1. So which newspaper site does meet with your approval?

  2. It’s like they’ve taken a stock WordPress template, turned it pink and slapped a faux newspaper banner across the top. The weird thing (or perhaps not so weird) is that they’ve kept the old look for the news pages and seem to be a bit hesitant about displaying the blogs in the new style. You have to actively select the new Alphaville design, which is pretty nasty.

    On the font size, they might have had a lot of complaints about the size of the old fonts. Compared with a lot of sites they are at the small end. But, if they’re worried about that, they should just let users select the font size using alternative stylesheets, or something along those lines.

  3. Oh dear, that’s absolutely appalling. Despite being guilty myself of using the odd stock WordPress template here & there, you’d certainly expect better from such an institution as the FT. It’s almost as if they’ve “gone all Myspace”. Gearing up for the next generation is one thing but to completely alienate tradition is beyond comprehension. I have to admit that I find the new design completely amateurish.

    Is there a tote for a possible about turn? Even if there’s not a complete reversion I expect to see some back-tracking; how can there not be?

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