May 13th, 2012 11:11 pm by Vincent Flanders
Submitter’s comments: Three days ago our local New Orleans newspaper, The Times-Picayune, decided to launch a “new and improved” website. There was nothing wrong with the previous design. While it was not flashy, it was very readable, easy to navigate and worked with all browsers, operating systems and platforms. It’s replacement is nothing short of horrendous!
The readers are outraged and are deserting nola.com like rats from a sinking ship. This change has generated over 350 comments so far (even more than when the Saints won the Super Bowl) begging The Times-Picayune to make it go away. Most, like myself, have clearly stated our intention to get our local news elsewhere. Several of the commentators are professional web designers themselves, and have made the observation that if they were to deliver such a product to a client they would promptly be fired. Unfortunately, all of our pleas are falling on deaf ears.
Below are links to the current site. For the sake of comparison, I’ve included a link to an Alabama news site which uses the old template. I am also including a link to the reader comments, some of which are quite funny! I hope you will have a look at this and consider my nomination of nola.com to be included in your gallery of “worst websites”.
Vincent Flanders’ comments: I first went to this site with my Chrome browser and it was a disaster, as this screen capture demonstrates. I was using Windows 7 with a portrait monitor. The home page was just as bad in Internet Explorer 9. This is just wrong, wrong, wrong.
I loaded the page on my XP machine with IE 7 and everything looked worked just fine. The site worked fine on my iPad and the mobile version worked fine on my iPhone. The home page takes too long to load and the page feels like it is held together with wire and glue and could fly apart at any second. Oh, it did fall apart.
When it’s working, I think the site looks fine; however, I’m not the target audience. I’m coming to it without a history. Hopefully, they tested this site with current users. I think the old site looks terrible. It’s cluttered like so many other newspaper sites, but it’s a comforting and familiar site to its old audience. Once the kinks are worked out, I think people will like the site.