Economist.com Surrenders to the Web 2.0 Aesthetic
The quote at left comes from a banner ad for The Ideas People, a "knowledge" campaign meant to school you on the modern pioneers of great ideas while slyly promoting The Economist.
It reads, "No one becomes perfect, but some become great." I thought it was apt in light of the launch of The Economist's fully redesigned homepage.
The current print edition says the designers sought to wed clean usability with informational depth. (In less diplomatic terms, it's another web 2.0 casualty. Think AJAX! Big FONTS! And widget-looking things!)
The headlines in the body of the page are nice and big, but it isn't clear why they're there. Are they the most current? Most popular? Most relevant?
A sub-nav with uneven tabs appears to be floating in midair -- like a widget that doesn't drag. It's as if everyone concluded it was useful, but no one could work out where to put it.
For some reason, blogs and columns appear below the fold. And the Sponsor's Feature -- "feature" being the operative word -- is waaaay at the bottom.
I do like the cleaner left-hand nav. Otherwise, and going back to the Ideas People quote, the redesign is far from perfect. Unfortunately, it doesn't meet the bar for "great" either.
But really, all the right elements are present; someone just needs to put them in their proper places. See the old version here.