It’s official: America hates Advance’s news sitesBy Wade Kwon
From Massachusetts to Oregon, from Louisiana to Michigan, with Alabama in between, readers hate the new look of Advance Internet’s sites after their 2012 makeover.
Yellow mama: MLive.com switched to Advance’s new look in January 2012.
It’s official: America hates Advance’s news sites
From Massachusetts to Oregon, from Louisiana to Michigan, with Alabama in between, readers hate the new look of Advance Internet’s sites after their 2012 makeover. By Wade Kwon.
Storified by Wade Kwon · Fri, Jul 13 2012 02:08:11
Sites with the 2012 design:
• Michigan: MLive.com [switched in January 2012]
• Alabama: al.com [May 2012]
• New Orleans: NOLA.com [May 2012]
• Massachusetts: MassLive.com [June 2012]
• OregonLive.com [June 2012]
Michigan’s MLive.com led the way in January, and reader feedback was negative from the start, with 300 comments.
“From a design standpoint, the new site is a complete and utter failure.” — Tom Allen
“I don’t like the bouncing header at the top of the page either as it follows down the page when I scroll to read. It’s very distracting!” — LadyBuggs
“This YELLOW is very hard on the eyes … like staring at the sun.” — kmo, Jackson, Mich.
“They honestly turned their horrible webpage into an atrocious webpage. They removed the sports headlines on the front page and made it look like a yellow pages version of a Facebook news feed.” — Io Triumphe
“It’s not clear to me how anyone in a position of approving this redesign could look at that mess and think: ‘Yeah! That’s better!’
“It’s unpleasant to the eye in several ways and will result in my having negative gut reaction to the products and services that are advertised there. How’s that for a potential hit to the bottom line?” — Misterray
“I’m not trying to jump on the hating bandwagon here, but the designer honestly needs to learn some new design techniques. Hopefully it wasn’t too expensive.” — Kyle Korth
Advance hired Mule Design Studio of San Francisco to create the new look. Noted designer Mike Monteiro (@Mike_FTW) led the project.
The blog post says, “We collaborated with the Mlive.com team to completely reimagine what a local news experience could be: exciting, responsive and community oriented. We interviewed current Mlive.com users throughout the state to find out what mattered most to them.
“The result is bright and bold, a new home page and navigation system with a layout that cuts down on clutter while offering people clear paths to the stories and features they care about.”
The Mule post pulled in an unusually high 37 comments.
“Epic failure. You guys totally screwed up on this one. You’ve moved digital journalism backward.” — Dude
“Yeah … I wouldn’t rush to put my name on this site. Talk about an eyesore …” — Andrew
“You may want to read the 99.999 percent negative comments being posted by the real mlive users before you use this as marketing for your services. You really missed the target on thus one including the use of a color scheme that is not only difficult to read but alienates a majority of mlive users because it closely resembles that of one major university in the state over all the others.
“Mlive readers want information and an intuitive way to get at it. Not tabloid ‘pop.’ You delivered neither, and your client is paying for it dearly.” — Jim
al.com / NOLA.com
“Post-Nola.com design change = I come here once every few days to see if this disaster has blown over.” — MikeMcMillan, New Orleans
“Frustrating user experience, harder to get at the actual news, slow and an all-around mess. I can even understand the less headlines/more ads angle, but this is bordering on unusable.
“There are just easier ways to get news. I’m sorry to say that I won’t be back until this layout is gone. Thanks for listening.” — Bigeauz
“Congratulations, web designers! Your work is the daily winner on webpagesthatsuck.com. NOLA.com is officially the worst designed web site in the world on May 13, 2012!” — sadnola, New Orleans
“The new nola.com format is atrocious. If the ownership of the Times-Picayune is counting on daily readers to move to online viewing on non-print days, you are going to lose your customer base quickly.” — Joey LaHatte, New Orleans
“This is just my opinion, but your change in format is awkward, clumsy, hard to navigate efficiently and somewhat garish. I don’t frequent it any longer. While I understand the reasoning behind going digital, I wish you had stayed with your first choice in formatting.” — Cory Price
“Compared to other news outlets, our website is a joke. We break news, but no one would know because of the worst news website known to man, and the priority setting — whoever is doing it — is totally fucked.
“Embarrassing, compared to TV. And yet we are focused on digital now? Enhanced? Who is buying this crap?”
“The Press-Register and other Newhouse-owned papers apparently employed some decent designers for their print publications. Please do not just fire these men and women. The digital side of your company needs their talents more than ever.
“You’ve replaced three newspapers with centuries of tradition between them with a website that I’d have been embarrassed to have designed 15 years ago. This is not the way to move to the digital age.” — whatsnew
“This is all y’all keep saying INSTEAD OF LISTENING to your clients: ‘I hope it will grow on you like it grew on us as we were testing the site.’ Of course it grew on you: You’re being paid, and it has to grow on you. We, on the other hand, hate it, and there is no benefit to any of this.” — jstephenrice, Huntsville
“Not really a fan of the new site … Old site was simpler, less flashy and easier to navigate.” — dodoc
“1996 called and said you should have hosted the site on GeoCities and added dancing cat GIFs.” — Franklin Hayes, Birmingham
“If this is just the beginning, I hate to see what the rest is going to look like! Not a nice, warm-and-fuzzy place for a home page anymore!” — Ken Furr, Mobile
MassLive.com / OregonLive.com
“Looks like change for the sake of change, and never mind about user friendliness or utility. I was very disappointed to see that it’s no longer possible to find world or national news. What a disappointment! Overall, a real step in the wrong direction.” — mick99, Easthampton, Mass.
“It looks clunky … lots of empty space in the drop-down menus, too many images on the page with large text. The site does not look like a newspaper site, or perhaps it looks like a paper geared to children or visually impaired. Look at NYT for a very ‘newspaper’ look … Guardian UK accomplished what you are trying here, but with a much better looking/arranged look.” — pronoblem, Holyoke, Mass.
“Good luck, as I’m sure there is a lot of political capital vested in the new format. But it’s not working too well for many of us.” — pdxmom
“The top bar is HUGE, it takes up a full third of the screen, please get rid of it. The home page is less ‘busy’ than the old, but the bold print and the large number of photos and ads make it hard on the eyes.
“Olive. It’s the pits.” — lefttownin86, Oregon City, Ore.
“This is a great example how breaking the mold was not a good idea. Too much clutter and disorganization.” — Joey Tuma, Eugene, Ore.
“This is a really poor design. The ‘following navigation bar’ is outdated and not laptop or tablet friendly. Give users an option (cookie-based or user-setting preference) to not allow the 2005 navigation bar to follow or not follow. Font style is horrible. You make poor use of real estate.
“By saying, ‘The changes might take some getting used,’ you are extremely condescending to your readers.” — Jeff Katz
“Another vote against the new website design. It is just awful, hard to navigate, nothing is recognizable from the old format. What was wrong with the previous version? I used to visit daily; now, I think I’ll delete my shortcut and find my news elsewhere.” — Elizabeth Smithwick
Wade Kwon is a communications consultant based in Birmingham, Ala. He has also been a journalist for 25 years.