Now that write for the paper I do feel that my credentials as an unbiased critic are somewhat murky but what the heck… The new look Times Online is with us. I just chanced upon it five minutes ago while browsing. Very first impression: SLOOOOOOW.
The thing seems choc-a-bloc with new features and is all prepped up to milk online advertising potential (just in time eh?). They’ve put sudoku online but my big question remains: Will the Sunday Times Crossword be finally available online thus sparing my poor mum the scanning business every Sunday?
The page layout is efficient. I am not too keen on the grey boxes but that can be tweaked later on. Personally I’d always associate The Times with a strong black and white contrast plus, it goes without saying, a Times font. Readers of J’accuse and his various predictions and rants regarding papers and blogs will notice the spanking new BLOGS button on the menu. Until now there’s a blog by one of those gastronomic geeks but I am sure there’s more to come.
The Media (images) scroll is a firm fav with the Italian papers. I wonder how long before the pirelli Calendar makes it to the Times in true La Stampa or La Repubblica style.
Then there’s the E-paper. Surely promising. I had a similar subscription with Le Monde and I tell you it redefines newspapers. You can navigate around a sort of pdf version of the paper, read different articles and wait for it…. there’s BLOGGER FRIENDLY buttons. There’s a BLOG THIS ARTICLE button, there’s a FACEBOOK button (?) and there’s a DIGG button.
The Online Poll is still there… still the cheesy questions: “How will Small Political Parties fare in next elections?” Old habits die hard I guess.
Overall impression is good. Not a wow yet. Mainly because many of the changes are a bit late … as in by internet standards they are a year late. There is also the slowness of the site to deal with – and I am surfing on a superfast network here. A step in the right direction though.
As for the e-subscription… it rocks, really it does… fingers crossed about that crossword though!
ADDENDUM: All efforts at actually subscribing or getting trial subscription have failed due to some layout fault on the screen and no REGISTER button once you have filled the details. Not so rockin’ now eh?
APPENDIX TO THE ADDENDUM: Subscription is plain sailing if you are on a mac/firefox.