The Toronto Star has relaunched thestar.com with an updated look, new social media features and different options for viewing the homepage.
The homepage now provides tabs for choosing the “way you view the news.” Standard View has 13 news stories up top, with the top story featuring a large image. Visual News is as it sounds. All stories are shown accompanied by a large image. Timeline View shows every story published, in order, since the last time you visited the site. And finally, Grid View, puts all stories into a three column grid.
The banner ad on the Standard View homepage today (Oct. 7) is roughly double the height of a standard banner ad, and pushes all editorial except the top story headline down below the fold on a 14-inch laptop screen. Time will tell if this will standard ad size on the homepage from now on.
The Star has added the Facebook Connect feature to the site as well, which allows users to merge their Facebook and Star accounts and post comments to both at the same time.
In addition, readers can now view Star stories by Topic. Some of the current “Hot Topics” listed are David Letterman, Toronto Raptors, Afghanistan, Canwest, Maple Leafs and eHealth.
These are the major changes, but the look and feel are updated and the navigation has been changed as well. There is a Redesign Site Tour available to teach readers about the new site.