What’s the verdict on USA Today’s revamp?

March 6, 2007 at 8:34 pm Leave a comment

It’s been a few days now since USA Today introduced its pretty radical site redesign that includes social networking features such as reader comments on all articles, digg-like reader recommendations and the opportunity for readers to write their own reviews.

Judging by the comments on the editors’ note (319 of them at the time of writing), it’s one big flop – the ones I read were universally negative and most people claimed to be moving their home pages to CNN. Nevertheless, these people had bothered to create a profile on the site and leave a comment, which is the whole point after all. I suspect many of them were just miffed at losing their familiar home page.

BusinessWeek immediately pointed out the dangers of unmoderated comments. Steve Rubel felt it didn’t go far enough in its use of social networking technologies. TechCruch said bravo! and there’s lots of interesting discussion in the comments. For a more in-depth analysis of the site’s features, take a look at Steve O’Hear’s blog.

I have to say that I like it – albeit that I am not overly familiar with its previous look. I applaud the paper for taking such a bold move. It has done what I’m sure a bunch of other mainstream media are considering. No doubt it hasn’t got everything right, but I hope it doesn’t end up as the pioneer with arrows in its back…

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