editor on the verge

Online musings from the newsroom and beyond . . . by Yoni Greenbaum

editor on the verge header image 2

Redesign faux pas can turn off readers

February 18th, 2008 · 1 Comment

One of my former newspapers, a Gannett owned publication in Cherry Hill, NJ, recently unveiled it’s redesign. While it appears very similar to the Pluck-based redesigns released by other Gannett newspapers, I’m finding something a bit distracting.

Maybe it’s me, what I can’t get past is all the “Summary text. Summary text. Summary text” and “This article is of the test phylum” and “test image.” Oh, and I can’t forget my favorite, the dreaded “The page could not be found (404).” That’s right, the site is littered with dummy or boiler-plate text and broken links. And what makes it even worse, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Now I fully understand everything that goes into a relaunch, but really, I wish the Courier-Post would have taken the time before they threw the switch to make sure that everything was where it should be and that they had removed everything that should be removed.

As I’ve said before, this is no way to treat your readers. To me, and I think other Courier-Post readers, these issues smack of poor project management and poor quality control.

And what particularly bothers me, is that this did not have to happen. Even if Gannett had ordered the newspaper to go live with the site by a certain date, I would like to believe that they would prefer to be late and have a completed and working site then to be on time with this site. If I’m wrong, and they don’t mind these errors and mistakes permeating one of their sites then shame on them.

How do you ensure this doesn’t happen when you do a redesign? What advice do you have for other sites?

Tags: Audience Development · Best Practices · Design · Online

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Pat Thornton // Feb 18, 2008 at 10:42 am

    Somebody forgot to do browser compatibility testing. The page looks terrible under Safari. I’ll have to check it out under IE 6 and 7 later today.

    I’m sure users love botched relaunches.

Leave a Comment