St. Louis’ #1 website, STLToday.com, finally launched a much needed redesign the other day. Our sources say its been in the works for some time and has been in a beta test for a few weeks before finally getting released to the general public the other day. We may have gotten a peak somehow and might have been using it for a little while now…or not…maybe…just sayin’.
So what do we think?
Quick version: It’s better.
Long version: First off, its faster, and that’s a welcome feature in of itself. We don’t want to know how much time of our life was wasted waiting for that big annoying photo rotator to load on the sports page. The other big improvement is the look of the single story page. Much cleaner look and, once again, loads much faster than before. We love the tabs interface where you have the story on the page, and you can click the tabs to see any photo galleries, videos or comments for this story…in fact we like it so much, we designed and created it on ToastedRav.com two years ago, but that’s cool, just glad to see STLToday suck a little less.
Not everything is cherries and hand-jobs out there in STLToday.com land though. We totally appreciate the effort to clean up the main sections, its not quite there. First off, this header is horrible. The ads are way too big still and the way its designed people will just ignore everything above the header and the ads will do no good to the struggling paper.
Going farther down the page, some sections look like ghost towns with nothing going on below the fold while others have way too much going on. We don’t need 18 stories on the front page about the Blues during their off-season…especially since four of those articles share the exact same title!
The last big problem we see is the fact that they are still pumping up Deb Peterson! What the hell? She hasn’t written a single interesting thing for years, and is constantly beat to the punch by bloggers and the Riverfront Times with nary a mention from Peterson. We don’t always agree with Burwell, but having her sitting there next to three 100% legitimate columnists is a joke.
Score: B -/C+ It’s a lot better, but this is where it should have been 3 years ago and still clinging to some “old media” ways. Catching up to the web is hard work. Good luck.