CNET has posted that it will be rolling out a new user experience design over the coming weeks. The new website will not only look different, but will contain modern interaction elements to simplify its pages while exposing more content. The main goals for the user experience redesign are to “make the site easier to use and speed it up.”
Like many news and published content sites, the new CNET homepage includes a rotating carousel that highlights stories from its three main content categories: technology news, product reviews, and downloads. They also incorporate some other elements that are becoming de facto standards such as the expanded footer that acts as an abbreviated site map and prominent video module. The redesign also follows another recent trend, putting large advertisements in the header. After all when a website has a strong brand and a loyal following of users, it can get away with putting ads in such visible places and generate greater ad revenue without alienating too many people.
There are three lessons from CNET’s handling of the user experience redesign that other companies should follow. First, CNET considers speed to be a vital part of the user experience. Other notable internet giants like Google agree. Second, CNET is proceeding with the redesign very meticulously, gathering plenty of input from analytics and alpha testers to optimize the final version. Even after all of the careful thought and improvements that have gone into the alpha version, they have opened the design to public comment by posting it on their website. After all, a drastic redesign like theirs can have huge, tangible benefits as well as potential pitfalls. Finally, CNET does something that we at Montparnas advocate when dealing with a radical redesign, roll it out slowly to gather more feedback and let your users get used to the new version. You can read about more ways to deal with radical user experience redesigns in an article I previously posted.