Four sites I visit regularly have been redesigned, lately.
Facebook, LinkedIn, Ning and Poynter have all gone throught redesigns of varying degrees. Poynter’s will launch on August 23rd. Bill Mitchell, Director of Poynter Online, sent an email to all members yesterday announcing the much anticipated new site.
Mitchell offered a mockup look at the new look. It promises to have enhanced social media aspects. The video below, from January 2008, highlights their desire to create a “journalism social networking experience.” The Alpha version of the site is visible here.
I must say, of all the sites I visit with any regularity, Poynter is easily one of the best Web sites anywhere. Nope, check that. Poynter is the best.
A previous Poynter redesign had its critics. Poynter.org redesign woes. The Online Journalism Review, did a story on that redesign effort. Overall I still liked the site. The new version makes me eager to see it in its full glory on August 23rd.
I’m curious to learn what, if any, impact the Poynter Eyetrack research had on their choices during the redesign process, too.
For budding PR practitioners, you have to understand journalism. You must understand journalists. There is no better place online to gain that knowledge than Poynter Online. Now, with the social networking aspects, it is even more of a must join, must read site for students. Oh, there are other things you can do, to be sure. For instance, you can join the HARO – Help A Reporter list from Peter Shankman. You don’t ever have to respond to anything on that list, if you don’t want to … just read and listen to what journalists look for and how they go about finding it.
The other redesigns have met with mixed reviews.
I like Facebook’s new look. It is cleaner and provides better navigation, as well as a less cluttered look. Downsides, along with the redesigned look, Facebook has changed some of the functionalities. They’ve not given users enough control over what appears in their news feed. Sure, you can get less of someone’s feed items, for example, but it is difficult to block their content totally. Finding pages is more difficult than before, too. Those are my experiences, so far.
LinkedIn has a rather mild redesign. It is cleaner, too. More white space, easier navigation and a bit of improvement in the admin areas highlight their changes. I like it. They’ve made the site better, in what I’ll call a slight, or minimal, redesign.
Ning’s redesign is really in the admin areas. They’ve made the “Manage” section look more like the backend of some open source CMS platforms or even an old version of Plesk, for instance. (That’s server admin software.)
I really love Ning. It is powering six of the sites we have running for class activities right now. In fact, one of the recent student campaigns was to design a site for the Dadeville/Lake Martin Chamber of Commerce. Their board recently voted unanimously to adopt the site and campaign the students designed. I want to work more Ning sites into class activities in the future.
If you’re interested in great resources regarding Web redesigns and the daunting process all of these organizations faced, look no further than Karine Joly’s CollegeWebEditor.com Web site redesign articles and her Web standards articles, too.
Don’t forget this other terrific site, too. eduStyle from Stewart Foss is a wonderful gallery of hundreds of college and other education Web sites. One cool aspect is this Social Sites Foxx describes as a “collection of sites that you may use outside of your official college pages to connect with your school’s prospects, students, alumni, friends, parents or community.”
OK, that’s my look at some recent changes in my favorite sites. Poynter’s launch on August 23rd is still much anticipated. What do you think of all these redesigns?