The Oregonian’s online presence at OregonLive.com got a partial facelift this morning with a redesign of its homepage and complete restructuring of its navigation menu — its first design revisions since 2008.
According to an announcement blog post, the biggest complaint of the old homepage was that the site was “too cluttered.” The redesign reduces some of that clutter by eliminating dozens of static links and replacing them with headlines.
The navigation bar is now dynamic, containing links to featured and recent stories when you hover over a particular section (what they’re calling “flyout menus”), as well as the more familiar links to sub-sections. This gets rid of one extra click into a particular section before you can actually view its content. As they explain it:
The new design gives you better tools for keeping up to date with the news. Readers can now utilize the drop-down menu in the main “river” of news content to access the 15 most recent headlines in 7 popular topics that audience data has shown OregonLive.com readers are most interested in: Top Stories, News, Sports, Entertainment, Business, Opinion and Living.
As you scroll down the page, the menu stays in a fixed location so that you never have to scroll back up to navigate somewhere new.
You can also load up to 45 headlines from the homepage using a “load more” button, making the homepage a more useful destination page. Rather than siloing all the content off by section — a very newspaper-centric concept — the redesign is more blog-like, featuring a reverse-chronological stream of headlines that you can filter from the homepage if you want to see a particular section.
Overall, I’d say this is a step in the right direction. OregonLive.com is breaking away from traditional concepts and taking huge risks for a site design that is unproven. What do you think of the redesign? Let us know in the comments.