Anyone care to give their opinion on the Blade's website redesign? Without having spent a lot of time there yet, it looks a lot cleaner, imho.
Comments ... #
WTF? It is not compatible for my browser. Good God. Hello? Can you test it before it goes live?
Gonna be hard to do the sodoku or the crossword at least when I looked at the sample from the other day.
I have text overlapping in Firefox. Is it the same with Chrome?
It will be cleaner, that's for sure.
Mine has a lot of blank space. Very small column to the left side half way down nothing on the right side but open space.
It wants to install a "Google Frame" add-on for Internet Explorer and you have to have "admin rights" to your computer. Not a problem is for me, but the bulk of the employees at my company won't be able to install the add-in.
Very poorly implemented...
As for The Blade vs Free Press, they both piss me off any giving day, but in the end the Toledo Blade has a lot more "News" than the TFP. Just look how often someone links to what's going on in Toledo. They link to the Blade, not the TFP. Maybe if the TFP was daily, it would be different.
That is a lot of white.
It's definitely a lot better than before though.
I think they did a great job...compared to the old site anyway...it was terrible.
Works perfectly on Safari/OS X, but the iOS app has ceased functioning since the switch. The site look 10x better than the previous version, time will tell on functionality.
@gunz - What do you mean when you say it won't work with AOL? Is AOL still an ISP?
I haven't checked it at home, but at work there was a lot of jumbled, overlapping text. All of the picture captions were in the middle of the photo & thus unreadable.
We have Internet Explorer at work, so its likely the same issue that Sensor described.
I have IE, Firefox, and Google Chrome at home. Will have to see what results I get there.
Im using google chrome and windows 7, it works fine for me. It's less cluttered and shitty looking. Ill take the bland version over the crap they had before.
My unbiased professional opinion...it sucks
I like it better than that slow-loading beast they used to call a website: even with a newer, blazing fast laptop, the old site used to take eight seconds or more to load. There also do not seem to be any of those intrusive scroll-out banner ads that obliterate the screen like in the old site.
This pretty much sums up the ToledoBlade online presence:
Thanks: http://ps238principal.livejournal.com/ for the graphic
First impression, I like it. Let me try it for a few days.
Wow, Night and day difference. At work I'm not able to download Google Chrome Frame and the website was brutal. Downloaded google chrome frame at home and I'm highly impressed.
I find that for sites with browser problems (meaning they test Internet Explorer preferentially, not Firefox), I click on View | Page Style | No Style, and it's like the 1990s again ... but you can see all the text and links on the site.
I think the site looks cleaner, though I'm not crazy about the font.
I think the site looks much better, but the internet explorer issue needing Google Chrome Frame is a bummer. I also have IE at work and we do not have Admin rights, so no more toledoblade.com for me. (at work at least)
Personally putting my IT hat on and jumping up on my soapbox, I would never allow a public facing website to have the google chrome frame tag added. It is a neat technology but for a site like this my opinion is that you should strive for maximum usability for all browsers without the need of additional plug-ins or addons. The reason is simple, like I said above not everyone has admin rights on their pc/laptop. Not to mention there are numerous ways the site could have been designed to look exactly the same without the need for google chrome frame. Neat technology but not worth it.
Huge improvement (viewed on Chrome and on iPad).
I'm a little bummed that I won't be able to view the site properly at work. I usually check the Blade website regularly from work (lunch break, etc). But I don't have admin rights to download the Google frame thing.
(As a side note, its annoying that the box asking you to install the Google frame thing pops up every time you try to go to the site. There should be a "don't show me this again" option for those of us who can't install it.)
I don't mean to sound like a Negative Nancy. But it does seem a little odd to develop a site that excludes a big chunk of potential readers? (I work for a big local employers, & my co-workers will all have the same issue.)
Waiting to see what it looks like from home though. Will be interesting to see as it is intended to be seen.
While the site does look better, the whole "Google frame" this is very bush league. I'm guessing it was some guy's kid who didn't know any better that did this.
This is my field and I can't imagine a professional web developer or IT professional doing this.
Have not been on it yet. Did they get rid of alot of the advertising clutter?
Finally checked out the site from home. Works fine with Firefox.
Unfortunately, seeing it the way its supposed to look now makes me realize what a true jumbled mess it is on my work computer with Internet Explorer minus the download.
If I could access the site properly at both work and home, I'd be happy with it.
Not a fan here... I don't like how it cuts off the text for half the headlines, so you don't really know if you want to read the story or not. Also, hard to tell what new stories have been updated/added.
I copied the comments and sent the link to this discussion to quite a few people at The Blade, including the "it sucks" comments. And, yes, OhioKimono, that is one of my fav Monty Python out-takes.
We used focus groups to determine just how much people hated the old site and wanted something cleaner.
When it comes to IE compatibility we screwed up. I've been told that issue will be fixed soon - VERY soon, I trust.
We didn't take into consideration that companies would still use IE6 & IE 7.
"Sometimes the hunter gets the bear and sometime the bear gets the hunter."
Paul, I work for one of the regions largest employers & just switched from Office 2003 to Office 2007 a month ago. (Most of my co-workers haven't made the transition yet, & are still on 2003.)
Who knows when I'll get an IE upgrade? 2025? Lol
P.S. Its good that you're taking public feedback into consideration. Honestly, my only true gripe is that I can't view the site properly from work. I can adapt to all the other stuff.
Think I will stick with office 2000 till it pukes, I don't like the now friendlier space grabbing help bar all across the top third of the screen.
paulhem, you mean you didn't just cut off their BEX and take away their domain names for criticizing The Almighty Blade™?
If you're at work and IE isn't doing it for you, please try the mobile site http://m.toledoblade.com
As I write this, I have to admit to being irritated that this issue wasn't fixed immediately. :(
As SensorG knows, the templates have to be redone. I'm not an html coder, so I'm repeating what I hear with little if any understanding of the subject.
http://m2.toledoblade.com - Nice. That's my kind of Web site anytime not just for mobile. But then again, I like the looks of sites and apps like:
Quora.com is about as fancy as I can handle.
Anymore, I try to find the mobile versions of Web sites and use them most of the time on desktops and laptops.
I miss reading the entire headline. I used to like going and being able to read the top local stories first. Even knowing which were the top local stories.
Thumbs down right now, but trying to deal with it.
Did a search...
Is htis what you're locking for?
"Anyone know how to find the daily log?"
it's VERY weird to me that many of the menu links on the top of the site take you to different websites with different looks. for example, clicking on coupons takes you to : http://toledo.localgreatcoupons.com/ which is an awful looking site. same with the cars link, and the obituaries. i'd prefer all of the navigation links to stay on the same site.
It's a lot better than what they had. No more folding edges or eye headaches.
Seems a bit more clean and to the point.
Paul, will all the old Toledo Blade article links eventually redirect to the new corresponding article links, or will the old links be dead? Right now, an old link just goes to the home page. When the Toledo Free Press redesigned its Web site, the old article links no longer worked.
It's a new content management system. It would probably be a big effort to keep the old links working, but Toledo Blade links that have been posted all over the place for several years.
I like the new Toledo Blade redesign. It's a significant improvement. Long overdue. It even functions well on an obsolete 2.0.0 version of the Firefox browser.
The homepage is vertically short, which is nice. Not a lot of scrolling to do. And it loads reasonably well. I used to like the AnnArbor.com design, but they've extended the length of their homepage too much. It loads slow.
The search box on the new Toledo Blade Web site is prominent enough. It's not located as high up the page as on AnnArbor.com, but it's still easily found.
Several weeks ago, I removed the search box from the header area at Toledo Talk because it interfered with resizing on small devices. A link to the search page is in the header. That's good enough. I don't want to create a mobile version of the site. I want the default site to function decent enough on mobile devices. So a while ago, I eliminated the nav bar, shrunk the header, shrunk the side bar, and maybe reduced the font size a little.
The new Toledo Blade article Web pages now contain the title of the article within the HTML title tags. That makes it easier to share or store Blade article links at a bookmarking service or on Facebook. With the old CMS, instead of the article titles appearing, all that appeared was something like toledoblade.com.
The URLs are friendlier. The URL below is nicer than the URLs produced by the old CMS.
To get to the list of local stories displayed in a more ideal manner, I have to click:
- "News" - http://beta.toledoblade.com/news and then
- "Local" - http://beta.toledoblade.com/local and finally
- "More Local" - http://beta.toledoblade.com/more?Section=local
I like the "More Local" display better than the "Local" version. So getting to "More Local" with one click from the home page instead of three would be nice. The "More Local" display is simple.
It would also be nice if the "More Local" view displayed more than 10 stories per page before having to click the "Next Page" link, but I understand the need for page views and ad impressions, and it' not really that big of a hardship. Plus, displaying only 10 stories per page preserves the design principle of keeping the page vertically short.
On the mobile home page, http://m2.toledoblade.com, is there a reason why date stamps do not exist in at least a small font next to the article titles?
The default view on the mobile site displays everything mixed together, news, sports, business, leisure, local, state, national, etc. One big feed. I like that. Does that kind of display exist on the main Web site? It would be nice if an "All Local" display existed. All the categories mixed together but for only local stories.
Excerpts from a Feb 17, 2011 Blade article about the new design:
With a homepage that includes content from News, Sports, Leisure, Business, and Opinion categories, the new toledoblade.com has a simpler look, with a design that is expected to drive readers further into the site to find more stories, photographs, and other Internet content.
"The highest frequency of ads is on an article page," he said. "We found that readers didn't mind ads on an article page because that was the content they were looking to get to."Advertisers, he added, appreciate the new design because their ads frequently got overlooked in the clutter of the previous site. "This [new site] gets them broken out of the noise."
Paul Hem - who wrote the concescending message that pops up now when you access the site via an old browser? Certainly not a person with any people skills!
I have always been a Blade supporter and have tried as hard as possible not to be negative about them. But honestly, if that message conveys the attitude that the Blade has towards its readers, then my attitude towards the Blade certainly has changed.
These are direct quotes:
"We strongly encourage you to update to, essentially, any other browser."
"We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but our readers have spoken, and they demand a website that offers features and technologies that aren't supported by half-a-decade old browsers."
I work for a large company and have no control over what browser we use. However, I was (until recently) a daily Blade reader. Now the site is useless to me, and the only response I get from the Blade is basically "you suck lady, get a different browser or go away."
If that's what they want, then they just lost a loyal reader.
P.S. I should note that I'm not upset because of the technology. I'm upset because of the Blade's response to the fact that so many people can't access their site properly (for reasons beyond the individual's control).
i'm disappointed that the old stories are currently unavailable. i had linked directly to a review of our restaurant on our website, and now that link is dead. bummer.
mom2, that kind of message is pretty common. it's very difficult to design/code for outdated browsers. have you asked your higher-ups to upgrade?
Give them a couple months I'm sure they will allow you to pay a fee for using their archives hehe.
I feel for those trapped by a backwards or underfunded IT dept, but IE 6 must die. We're all held back as long as it hangs around. Even Microsoft has endorsed rival Google's advice to ditch IE6. "We support this recommendation to move off Internet Explorer 6," said Microsoft spokesman Brandon LeBlanc.
But breaking the old links is a major faux pas.
Actually, we're on IE7 not 6. The message headline reads "for users of IE 6, 7, and 8."
upso, I'm not sure how they'd take it if I said "hey, I can't read the Blade at work anymore, can you upgrade my browser?". Lol
My two cents:
1) The site is much better than the old site, but ANYTHING would be better than the old site. Going to the old site was like being slapped in the face.
2) It's still not good. There's WAY too much white space. It's as if they went to the other extreme.
3) I agree that they blew it when they coded the site and "blew off" everyone using an older version of IE. They did not even consider those who (like me) have very conservative IT departments that aren't going to live on the bleeding edge. You'd think that a company that also owns a freaking ISP would know better???? WTF???
Bottom line: they hung on to a crappy old site way too long (hell, they didn't even allow comments for years), they screwed up the new site, they don't care if you're running an older browser, and they don't care about their readers.
So, screw 'em.
mom2, can't you just simply download a new browser? It would take only a few minutes to do.
Guess I won't worry about it too much. I also check WTOL and the Detroit Free Press every day as well. So, I can keep up with local and regional news that way.
I should note that the Detroit Free Press just did a site re-design, and I can access that just fine. Perhaps they're more concerned about their readers' needs than the Blade?
Remember, the Detroit Free Press has to at least nominally compete with the Detroit News, so that's probabl why they are a bit more responsive to their readers than the virtual-monopoly Blade...
I understand everyone's frustration and I can understand how it may seem that we are not listening. We are listening.
Unfortunately, I have been out ill with some really nasty bug.
Until then, please use http://m.toledoblade.com until we have this fixed. Thanks.
In terms of breaking the old links...
It is a new CMS. We have to find a solution. We are loading the content from the previous vendor. It will take some time.
I think everyone understands why we had to get rid of the old system. However, we don't want to leave anyone behind.
I apologize for the perceived condescension. I have read your comments over the years and respect your expertise and professionalism.
I think everyone understands why we had to get rid of the old system.
No, not all of us. Some of us are in the dark.
I like the new site much better than the old one, and I have no trouble viewing it. That said, I won't use it so long as the mobile site is available. The mobile site is eons better than the regular site.
Mom2: Given that IE is a free browser, what's the problem? Just d/l a new one and install it, or get a power user to help you (offer bagels as a bribe). Failing that, get an actual certified, bono fide chrome plated 24 karat gold Eye Ess guru to waddle over and do the dirty deed. Offer doughnuts as a bribe.
Better yet, switch to Foxfire or something.
"Just d/l a new one and install it, or get a power user to help you ..."
Have to follow the company's IT policy. No unauthorized downloading of software. Desktops and laptops need to be kept unified with the same version of software for most apps. The company may have a legitimate or paranoid reason for staying a version or two behind the latest release.
The reason that we changed it was that people hated the old design. We decided to verify that by using focus groups to determine what people wanted. Our design was derived from those focus groups.
Paul, the mobile site http://m2.toledoblade.com produces an error when clicking on the title of a story. I was getting the error this morning, and I just got the error again.
The error occurs on the first 23 stories and then no error.
For example, on page 3 of the list of all stories on the mobile site, the story:
produces the error. But the story immediately under it:
works fine. And the other older stories under the "Funding" story also work fine.
But all or nearly all of the stories above the "Yemen" story such as:
produce the following error:
500 Server Error
An item with the same key has already been added.
at System.ThrowHelper.ThrowArgumentException(ExceptionResource resource)
at System.Collections.Generic.Dictionary`2.Insert(TKey key, TValue value, Boolean add)
at System.Collections.Generic.Dictionary`2.Add(TKey key, TValue value)
at org.libercus.StoryHandler.ReadTags(Int16 Product, Int64 StoryID)
at org.libercus.BaseTagHandler.CreateCache(String OldBuf, Boolean& CreateCache)
at org.libercus.BaseTagHandler.Execute(Boolean NoCache)
at org.libercus.BaseTemplateObject.LTO.Execute(UserSession Session)
at org.libercus.BaseTemplateObject._parse(UserSession Session)
at org.libercus.BaseTemplateObject._checkCacheAndParse(UserSession Session)
at org.libercus.TemplateIO.TemplateObject..ctor(UserSession Session, RequestTypes RequestType, String Template, Boolean ResolveIncludes, Boolean Outerparse)
at org.libercus.TemplateIO.TemplateObject..ctor(UserSession Session, RequestTypes RequestType)
at org.libercus.RequestHandler..ctor(HttpContext context, List`1 PathElements)
at org.libercus.libercusHttpModule.MainRequest(Object sender, EventArgs e)
I just noticed that the story below, which is listed on the front page of the mobile site and was updated a couple minutes ago, works fine, but the other front page stories around this one produce the above error.
Paul, i'm curious... who did this new website? Someone local?
madjack, I'm well-aware how simple it is to download a new browser on a computer. I have Google Chrome, IE, and Firefox on my home computer..all of which I downloaded myself. (Each family member has a different preferred browser, so I installed them all.)
However, as I said above, the issue is with my work computer. We cannot install anything on our work computers. Even if I went through the motions of trying to download a new browser, it wouldn't install. IE 7 is my only option at work, period, until the powers that be decide to make a company-wide change.
I feel for you, then. Read the mobile site posted above.
I feel for you, then. Read the mobile site posted above.
Sorry for the double post. I'm not computing at top notch quality tonight!
I suppose I could just do work at work, but what would be the fun in that? ;)
Thanks! I think that we might be seeing an error created by improper posting. I'm looking into it now.
I'll check. Thanks.
I was really not that involved with the new site. I'll have to ask.
I appreciate the feedback from you, jr and everyone!
The problem with the m.toledoblade.com site had to do with the DNS finally catching up. The cache for m2.toledoblade.com and m1.toledoblade.com were different, so the error occurred - so I've been told.
It's back now. Thanks for letting us know.
Paul, thanks for passing the feedback along.
I'm not normally one to complain just for the sake of complaining. But I know there must be other Blade readers who have the same set-up at work (at least my co-workers)...I'm sure the Blade wouldn't want to lose that chunk of web traffic.
(Its not that I spend a ton of time on the web at work, but I typically read the news on my lunch break every day.)
No ARTS section? is there no art to cover in Toledo?
On the home page, please click "Leisure." The "Arts" section of the site is under that.
Have to follow the company's IT policy. No unauthorized downloading of software.
That is completely unreasonable. What a bunch of grapes.
I've seen similar policies at many other companies. One local company had a similar asinine policy with a zero-tolerance approach added to it. That worked right up until the time an employee brought in their own laptop and productivity shot through the roof. There was a brief, bitter argument with the company SysOp and a new policy was issued: you install it, you're responsible for it.
Inevitably a nasty virus surfaced, but by then the original instigator was history.
thanks paulhem, yet its thrown is with recipes and health, seems like the arts could fit into Business just as well as Leisure. Even the Dayton Daily new has a entertainment section, granted they're art community is well looked after in Dayton.
Just tried to access the site, and it's apparently down...
I really enjoyed reading the Blade "online". Can anyone tell me the reason the Blade made this change? Was it a money move, or management decision to screw things up?
Well... I can now navigate the new site. I didn't have to download Google Frames or anything.
Thanks for the responses.
Excerpts from a Mar 14, 2011 ReadWriteWeb story titled The Web Surpasses Newspapers As Source for Americans' News
From the article:
- 46% of people now say they get their news online at least three times a week, surpassing newspapers (40%) for the first time.
- Only television is more popular among Americans, with 50% indicating that's their regular source for news.
- For the first time, more money was spent on online advertising than on print newspaper advertising.
- Online advertising overall grew 13.9% to $25.8 billion in 2010.
- Ad revenue at newspapers fell over the same period by 6.4%.
- Twenty eight percent said the loss of their newspaper would have a major impact on their ability to keep up with information; 30% said it would have minor impact and 39% said it would have no impact.
- 47% of Americans report they get at least some news from their cellphone, although their interests seem to be in information that's practical and in real time: weather and restaurant information, for example.
- While nearly half of Americans say they get their news via a mobile device, just one in 10 use an app to do so.
- Pew Research Center insists that, " news remains the vast untapped territory. ... no one has yet cracked the code for how to produce news effectively at a sustainable level."
jr, We think alike.
I sent the Pew study to Blade upper management last night.
Thanks for the insights into the rest of the world!
"47% of Americans report they get at least some local news from their cellphone, although their interests seem to be in information that's practical and in real time: weather and restaurant information, for example"
I hope the Blade and other decisionmakers in town will consider local dynamics. An informal poll of 9 houses in my neighborhood shows that 5 households either have no cell phone at all (and don't want one) or have a work-issued cell phone that is for work calls only (no texting, no surfing). Two households have iPads and similar -- they're looking at celebutainment and Youtube for the most part, NOT local news. And certainly not twice a week. If they have a question about a restaurant, they call the restaurant.
One household has multiple cell phones (teens) and they are always peering at the screens. It's a good bet they are not the least bit interested in local news -- if anything, they're playing war games! One household has an active cell phone user who might be in the demographic to care about local news.
Of the nine houses, 7 have a daily subscription to the Blade.
"An informal poll of 9 houses in my neighborhood shows that 5 households either have no cell phone at all (and don't want one) or have a work-issued cell phone that is for work calls only (no texting, no surfing). Of the nine houses, 7 have a daily subscription to the Blade."
That is a bit out of the norm overall, but it could be "normal" for their age groups. What are the ages of the decision makers in those households?
February 2011 Pew report
When asked further about the presence of mobile phones in their households, one-third (33%) of those who do not own a cell phone live in a household with at least one working mobile phone. This means that overall, 90% of all adults—including 62% of those age 75 and older—live in a household with at least one working cell phone.
More from the state of the media report for newspapers:
This audience shift – from print to digital – is viewed as logical, even inevitable.In the near term, though, as became more evident in 2010, transferring readership from print to digital is problematic, because of the much lower ad rates that prevail in digital.
2010 report info
Those in the youngest cohorts, 18 to 24 and 25 to 34, had the lowest readership levels. Fewer than two out of three, 27% and 28%, respectively, said in 2009 that they read a daily newspaper the day before, according to data from Scarborough Research. Both those figures were four percentage points lower than where they stood the year before.
Those aged 35 to 44 and 45 to 54 also showed declines in readership. Both groups saw five-point decreases in 2008, to 36% and 46% respectively.People in the oldest groups were the most likely to say they read a newspaper the day before, with 62% of those over 65 answering affirmatively, a decrease of two percentage points from 2008, and 54% of those 55 to 64, a decrease of three percentage points from 2008.
Viola and jr,
Thank you both for the work that you expended to obtain the information. Viola, you really went out of your way! Thank you so much!
The Blade isn't going to abandon our flagship print product.
However, we are going to make sure that we provide people who have IPhones, iPads, Android devices, or any web enabled portable device, content that they are interested in viewing, reading or listening to.
Talking about listening...
THANKS to jr for providing a forum for us to "hear" what people think about our news/information/entertainment platforms.
Editorial Systems Manager
Paul, thank you all for spending the salary money to hire a real writer for the food section. Other papers have chosen to save money in that area and just run press releases from food companies and other canned "service pieces." D. Neman is very knowledgeable and it's a joy to read his articles. He has really revitalized the food section. Well done, sir!
I'm of the age group where we do not buy paper newspapers but rather read online. For the news nothing can beat the digital age: for international and national I trust much of my reading to the BBC. For local I can depend on several sources including even ToledoTalk.
I regard digital news are cheaper (hey, its free), a means to be better informed about the world, and more friendly to the Earth (no paper or ink waste).
With all due respect, I'd suggest that your keen level of awareness is not typical for your age group. I know many in your group who are dreadfully uninformed and don't read anything enlightening online or otherwise. Facebook and Twitter are not good sources for information.
I like my morning paper and will continue to get it. I don't think it's wasteful at all.
I love my paper on the weekend, but I don't read it very often during the week. I simple don't have enough time.
Who chooses what is the top story on the website? I don't get it. There are 3 or 4 big national / state / local stories on the website right now (as of Saturday, 11:30am):
1.) The major outbreak of tornadoes that have half-destroyed St. Louis Lambert Airport and shut it down indefinitely.
2.) Terry Jones (Koran-burning pastor) goes to jail over a $1 peace bond and what he perceives as his free speech rights, later released. Judge said he was a safety threat.
3.) Petitions to repeal SB5 are ready to roll today at Wildwood Park between noon - 2PM.
4.) Thanks to the Japan earthquake, it looks like GM will become the world's #1 automaker by default.
Yet, what is the primary / lead story: fucking Mr. Bean is going to the "Royal Wedding" (picture included of Mr. Bean)...and the guest seating plan has been confirmed. C'mon...seriously? Someone made the determination that that story needed to be #1???
Paulhem, you may want to send those stats jr posted again to your upper management. Local news is important; hell, "newsy" news is important, not where the Duke of Bluffshittington and Lady Crotchstain will be sitting next week.
I like fluffy news occasionally too--hell I would have loved if the "Proposal at the Mud Hens Game" would have been #1 (at least it's local). Right now, that is the #1 read story online today.
I know Saturday is a light news day, but jeez....it doesn't mean news judgement goes right out the window.