Monday, November 21, 2005 worst redesign ever

nuvo is indianapolis's premier alternative weekly newspaper, currently celebrating its 15th anniversary. it's a fairly good paper, which i have primarily browsed online. the cuisine section is a good resource for finding local restaurants, for example.

but recently nuvo decided to redesign their website, the new design is, quite simply, awful. atrocious even. redesign, how do i hate thee? let me count the ways.

a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but if you took a big steaming turd and called it "rose", it would still smell like a big steaming turd. and this is what nuvo has done: replace a cluttered-but-useful-and-informative site with something that is simply terrible.

once upon a time, the main page featured links to the various sections as well as blurbs/teasers for the stories in that week's issue (which were also hosted online). you could easily browse what was new that week, or skip to a different section, like cuisine or entertainment. the design wasn't awesome, but it got the job done.

the new front page is somewhat different.

you know when you go to a site whose domain has expired, and you are greeted with a bunch of marketing links to pages you would never in a million years want to visit? or you follow a search result link to a page that holds no real data, a page that was clearly compiled automatically by a bot and filled with spammy links to sites you'd never want to visit? you know that feeling you get when you come to one of these pages: that feeling of "oh, that's not a real website... that's just spam"?

this is exactly what the new looks like. it looks like a spam site. like a bot-generated marketing site. it sure as hell doesn't look like a news site. if i hadn't been going to the site for years and stumbled across it, i would immediately assume "oh, this is crap" and i would leave.

seriously, check it out. i am astonished that anyone thought this was a good idea. even ignoring that it looks like spam, it's hard not to see that it simply looks ugly.

now, if you go there looking for news, the only way you'll find it is if you look closely at the leftmost column. underneath the "articles" header, you'll find one little link that says news. it's actually the fifth link in that section; apprently humor/satire and the latest columns by hammer and hoppe are more important than news.

and what if you manage to resist the urge to flee the site and want to read some columns? right now, if you click the columns link, there's nothing there! not one single column appears, just a bunch of white space. there's a link to view the columns archive, but there's no content there either! which is really bizarre since the left side of the page links directly to the latest columns by steve hammer and david hoppe.

i guess it could have been worse. hammer explains in the forums that the original plan "was to wipe everything clean and start from scratch, but recent developments have made us look sharp at maintaining that which works. If it ain't broke, don't break it."

unfortunately, i think they still broke it, but at least most of the old content is still there. it would have sucked even more if old stories (like the stAllio! feature) had been deleted.


syntax said...

that is a hideous redesign... i'm kind of surprised that some sort of evil javascript didn't try to automatically change to my home page and insert malware onto my hd...

speaking of malware, did you hear about texas v. sony/bmg?

stAllio! said...

man, so much stuff has happened in the sony drm story that one can hardly keep track. for example see the two "sony rootkit roundup" posts (part 1 and part 2) at boingboing.

stAllio! said...

and here's part 3