I was secretly glad that New York magazine was on hiatus for the week because it gave me the chance to monitor the “Most Popular” feature and see what was moving, which was super interesting (finally, Vera Wang gets her moment in the spotlight!). But after two weeks of nipping back to the NYMag website, I got a jolt last night when I clicked back and found an entirely new look.
Yes, I knew it was coming; an email from rep Betsy Burton yesterday at 11:38 am let me know it was re-launching that night. Nonetheless, it was a shock — where was the bold red? What were all these new nav buttons? Was it me, or were there way less bylines? It’s hard for me to be objective here because I hate website redesigns (Daily News, I miss the old blue); it’s no different with New York. What can I say: I’ve grown accustomed to its [inter]face (Lerner and Loewe still relevant? Check).
So I will restrict my comments to matters of utility and aesthetics. The new look is sleek and navigable, with lots of blue a la Salon (my comments on that redesign apply here). I like that they seem to have added a daily component, though I would love to be able to click on “Daily New York” and get a page for that day (blog blog do I hear a blog?). I like the “Backstory” feature accompanying some articles. Great idea. (Links here would help too.) I clicked on the Ryan Adams pic to see what THAT backstory would be but there was none. Yes, the kid won’t stop releasing albums, but that just means there’s plenty of ink on him). Links to previous articles keep people on your site longer.
I don’t have the old website handy to compare, but I’m pretty sure that bylines have far less prominence. Why? New York has great contributors; readers and surfers recognize names. Bring ’em back. Your people deserve the credit. Good example: I’d never click on “New Novel by Writer NY Moms Love to Hate”; I would, however, be eager to see what Culture ed. Emily Nussbaum had to say in her first byline since going on maternity leave (link here now that you’re interested).
Newsletters: good; going from “Most Popular” to a generic “Most Emailed” box, meh. As we all know, that isn’t the only gauge of what someone might want to see. I’m actually being quite serious. Monitoring who prints what when etc. has been an eye-opener.
By the way, I’m no web designer or anything-else designer. I’m just someone who spends a lot of time in front of the computer, and a lot of time on the New York website. Also, I’m self-important. So take these comments with that in mind.