Globe and Mail website redesigned

Despite a few early-going hiccups, The Globe and Mail‘s redesigned website is now up and running with a new look, new features and a simplified name.

“ becomes The Globe and Mail because it is The Globe and Mail and everything is integrated and it insinuates everything,” said Globe editor-in-chief Edward Greenspon in a video message introducing the new site. “So it’s moved from an insurgency to being part of our DNA in every news decision we make every day on every news desk.”

The Globe launched online about a decade ago and Greenspon said the site saw 7.4 million unique visitors last month. In 2006, the entire operation was moved into the centre of the newsroom, so that all the activity revolved around “Almost every person now feels they’re a web journalist, a digital journalist as well as a newspaper journalist,” he added.

Greenspon calls the new site more “colourful” and “dynamic.”

The Globe‘s editors have asked for reader comments and, of course, received many. As of early afternoon May 22, the reader poll showed 35% voting “Looks great”, 27% voting “I’m indifferent” and 38% voting “I can’t stand it” (with a total of 19898 votes tallied).

Peter Scowen, who is billed as a communities editor responsible for the Globe Books portal, explains a few of the glitches he’s been dealing with in his section in an In Other Words blog post. He wrote:

“One of the most interesting bugs is the one that turns all the stories on the Globe Books page into what are referred to as ‘Review’ stories. ‘Review’ stories are the ones we use for movie and play reviews, and hence they have star ratings attached to the headline. So if this bug has kicked in overnight, as it did last night, you will see four stars attached to some of the headlines on Globe Books, thereby implying that we are now rating our reviews and features, and that every single one deserves four stars.”

At least the glitch gives their own work a full four stars!

In communities editor Mathew Ingram’s blog, Ingram 2.0, he explains some of the new interactive features. Comments can now be voted on by readers. In order to try and develop more of community among readers, users are now able to create user profile pages and “add friends” when they find comments they enjoy. In response to feedback, some new features on the go include: the ability to insert paragraph breaks into comments, sorting the comments by oldest first or most popular and the ability to quote from a comment when you are replying to it and the creation of forums to allow readers to discuss specific topic areas.

“So please consider this as version 1.0 — if not a beta — and rest assured that updates are coming soon,” wrote Ingram.

Reader reaction has been understandably mixed, as change always prompts strong reactions. The site is, of course, a work in progress and as the Globe has been a leader in online news, it will certainly be one to watch.