USAToday has launched a major re-design to their site.
In the "comments from the editor" section Ken Paulson identifies the change in approach as well as the obvious design changes:
With the new features we've introduced on the site, readers will have the ability to:
• Scan other news sources directly on USATODAY.com
• See how readers are reacting to stories
• Recommend stories and comments to other readers
• Comment directly on stories
• Participate in discussion forums
• Write reviews (of movies, music and more)
• Contribute photos
• Better communicate with USA TODAY staff
I am a firm believer that a key differentiator for media brands is to more fully integrate their communities and provide a platform and tools to their audiences so that they actively participate with the content on the site.
The site's new features are designed to better involved the community. There is nothing truly innovative but the tools are solid and I'm sure will be expanded. However the majority of comments to date shows that a lot of the initial feedback is unfavorable but that's inevitable with any change.
While the design may need some adjustment based on user feedback, the underlying approach to embracing the community makes a lot of sense and the editors of USA Today deserve a lot of credit for taking a much bolder approach than many of their colleagues.
I was a little surprised they dropped down the placement of the 300x200 ad to below the fold on the left hand side with a smaller rich media ad above the fold.
Comments from around the web have been including in the Community Center