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Nieman Journalism Lab
Pushing to the future of journalism — A project of the Nieman Foundation at Harvard

New York Times offers a glimpse at the homepage of the future

A new nytimes.com is in the works, and the company is previewing a prototype homepage, section front, and new article page.

The New York Times is offering another sneak peek at the future of nytimes.com today, with an advance look at the new homepage, sections fronts, and article pages.

The paper is offering staffers inside Times HQ a chance to kick the tires of the new site and offer feedback before the rest of the world sees the site next year. (You can see the previewed sections below)

At first glance the redesigned nytimes homepage may not appear that different from its current state. But a closer look shows a front page that features new fonts, and has rearranged the way users navigate on the Times site. The site index on the left hand side of the page has been dropped to the bottom in favor of a sections menu that mirrors the Times iPad app. The new homepage also has a fixed navigation bar (which includes “Most Emailed” and “Recommended For You” among sections like World, US, New York, among others), that stays with users as they scroll down the page.

The section front has a similar styling, dropping the page border, top banner ad and navigation. The layout is largely the same, giving the feel of more of a makeover than an overhaul.

The Times first pulled back the curtain on its plans for the new site in March, when the paper previewed the new article page. Today’s update offers another look at the revamped article pages, which have a more seamless integration of multimedia, and offers a new, annotation-like approach to reader comments.

Here’s the email to the staff from the Times team working on the new design:

Starting today, employees are able to see the latest version of the NYTimes.com redesign, the next step in our continuous process to develop a richer digital platform to showcase our award-winning journalism and premium advertising.

This employee preview includes nearly all of the same elements found on the article prototype we made available earlier this year, but rendered on an entirely new page serving platform which is both faster and dynamic. The new platform serves as a foundation for all future development and will allow us to create more personalized experiences.

This preview also includes restylings of the homepage and section fronts, which feature a cleaner look, new navigation tools and new fonts. Like the prototype, article pages feature a cleaner, more engaging and responsive design; richer integration of photography, video and interactive story elements; and more efficient navigation tools.

To enable your preview, click here. You may also disable it by using the same link and clicking on the “Disable” button.

This preview is available only to employees at this time as you must be behind the company firewall to access it. The preview viewing experience expires after seven days. If you would like to continue viewing it after seven days, you must click on the link again.

If you wish to provide feedback or report problems, you may do so here. Your input will be invaluable as we prepare to publicly launch the redesign of NYTimes.com in early 2014.

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  • http://www.startupmanagement.org/ William Mougayar

    It looks pretty close to the current one to me. Am I missing something?

  • http://www.aendrew.com/ Ændrew Rininsland

    Hm. Same complaint I’ve always had with the NYT’s front page…

    “Little boxes on the front page / little boxes made with lots of little text / little boxes on the front page / little boxes look the same…”

  • http://mindymcadams.com/tojou/ Mindy McAdams

    I’m not impressed. It’s not sleek, fast, or efficient. I can’t spend time going left and right and up and down (with my eyes). It’s just not the way we read on a screen.

    The article is a slab of gray text, in spite of the photos. Why can’t they use subheadings?

  • hughstimson

    Agreed. Grids that aren’t really grids are a pain to navigate visually. I’ve switched to using mobile apps for some sites which take that approach, so that I can read left-to-right and/or top-to-bottom, instead of playing snakes an ladders with my eyes.

  • http://contributor.yahoo.com/user/76423/john_melendez.html John Melendez

    Packed with thumbnails and synopses of individual stories – just like the digital versions of Chinese media outlets!

  • Benjamin Kowalski

    On top of all the continued visual clutter it seems they are still struggling to work out, they could have at least redesigned the “Give the Gift of a Subscription” advertisement to not be an awful, blue gradient, monstrosity of marketing.

  • peggy bustamante

    Move along. Move along. Nothing new to see here.

    Feels like the 90s when newspapers were redesigning their print product every other week, somehow imagining that changing headlines from serif to san-serif fonts and moving the index box from the bottom right to the upper left-hand corner would lure in more readers. It didn’t work. Old readers got confused. New readers moved to the web.

    If you give readers compelling content they will come. That means interactivity and multimedia for more engaging (and new) experiences. That means coding… (yes, back to that.)

  • jones19876

    Wait, so not only does it keep on trying to mimic the paper version (the original inspiration fine, but you gotta let go at some point), it also doesn’t really improve on 15 years of previous versions of the home page?

    I’m all for keeping a very clean look free of trendy gimmicks, but this is a little hard to like.

  • leonpaternoster

    I’m surprised. I thought the whole grids that mimic the print version only with several hundred stories on the page design look was in its death throes. I guess it’s harder for the NYT to change as Khoi Vin invented this approach back in the day – for the NYT.

    The ITV website takes a far more reader friendly, scannable approach: http://itv.com/news

  • Informerly

    Mind-blowing to look at sites on the forefront of news design like Medium and then the NYTimes. I can somewhat understand their general audience still wants the newspaper reference and feel, but still a bit surprised they’re not adapting to how people consume news nowadays online. For how digital-forward they seem to be in a number of ways, this seems a bit backwards-looking.