A website redesign can be a tricky thing. The main goal should be to make a site more user-friendly, attractive, and easily navigateable than the previous version. A good redesign will hopefully gain you praise and more readers. It should be an upgrade.
Yet not every site can achieve that. Case in point: When Gawker and fellow sites Gizmodo, Lifehacker and Jezebel released drastically revamped sites in February, they were universally panned by users. TechCrunch even published a post claiming the “big redesign is driving people away.”
Today, my email inbox, Facebook newsfeed and Twitter stream were filled with news of not one but three site relaunches: Muck Rack, YouTube, and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Let’s take a closer look at these newly modified sites.
Muck Rack isn’t even three years old yet but has already been remodeled. The site, whose tag line partially reads “Watch the news come together in real time,” basically tracks what journalists are saying on Twitter and social media.
The latest rendition of the site sees the launching of Muck Rack Pro, a new feature which can be geared toward journalists or public relations professionals. The site describes Muck Rack Pro for Journalists as a way to “increase your following and track how your colleagues cover the news.” The one geared at PR is basically a media list of reporters. If the site has already verified you as a journalist, this tool is free. Sorry, PR folks, you will have to pay a fee.
The Next Web’s Courtney Boyd Myers wrote a nice piece covering this latest Muck Rack. She sums up the changes pretty well.
“In 2010, Muck Rack was a news service dedicated to telling you what journalists are saying about the news on Twitter. It was yet another news aggregator that pulled from Twitter. It has come quite a long way since then.
The new Muck Rack offers an analysis of what stories are linked to the most by journalists, and what they’re saying about them on the front page. It’s also offers a much better way to view journalists by publication. … It offers better trending terms of what journalists are saying, and a “see what’s trending on Muck Rack right now” vs. Twitter’s trending topics.”
YouTube‘s site now features a brand-new homepage, easier to customize channels and as the company blog puts it, “a fresh coat of digital paint.” The site is becoming more friendly with social networking sites, demonstrated by the fact that users will now be able to link their YouTube account to Facebook and Google+.”The goal is better personalized video discovery and viewing, with a notable emphasis on social features,” writes Eric Eldon of TechCrunch in a comprehensive review of the new site. “The new homepage looks a lot like Facebook, or Google+ for that matter. An activity feed view dominates the middle of the page, while a left-hand navigation bar provides a set of filters for what you see in the feed.”
When I went to my YouTube account, I didn’t see anything different. So I’m not sure when the redesign will go into effect for all users. If you’re like me and can’t see anything new, check out this quick video from YouTube on the redesign.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
The last time the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press received a makeover was 16 years ago. To say it was way past due for a new design is an understatement. Thanks to a host of sponsors, including the Knight Foundation and the Dow Jones Foundation, the site has finally undergone a transformation.
The main thing to know about the redesign is that it makes the site much more simple to use. The site is clearly divided into two categories: media law topics or media law resources. Large drop down menus make finding what you’re looking for a breeze.
In times when reporters are getting arrested just for doing their job, being able to access information on your legal rights in just a few clicks is more important than ever.
What do you think of these redesigns?