It’s been two days since USA TODAY redesigned its site, adding serious social components. The new social features include the ability to make comments on news stories, “recommend” stories or comments, review movies and music, discuss in forums, contribute photos and more.
USATODAY says that the redesign impacts more than just the look and feel of their online presence:
While we’ve refined the design, we’ve also expanded the journalistic mission: Our ambition is to help readers quickly and easily make sense of the world around them by giving them a wider view of the news of the day and connecting them with other readers who can contribute to their understanding of events.
In addition to the visual and social changes, USATODAY has “cleaned up the layout, simplified the navigation, improved ‘search’, and made it easier to find related stories.”
How is the public taking it?
For the most part, not well. The comments on the announcement of the new design (239 as I’m writing) are overwhelmingly negative. Although some people, like Michael Arrington, like it (and some think they didn’t go far enough), for the most part USATODAY readers dislike the change.
The reasons run from the stodgy “I hate Web 2.0, I hate social media, I hate blogs and now I hate you” category to the more practical “Loads too slow/confusing layout” side. Somewhere in the middle is the “I don’t care what everyone else has to say; I just want to hear the news” faction. Aaron Wall and Lisa Barone aren’t big fans. The discussion continues on Techmeme, but what do you think?