I was contacted by Microsoft today asking for my opinion of a preview they just launched for a redesign of MSN.com. I took some time and went over the design and come up with the feedback I have listed below but I wanted to open it up to hear from all of you. You agree with what I have to say? You think I missed something? You think I got something wrong? Click here to see the new home page and post your thoughts in the comments and I will pass them along to the team at Microsoft.
My thoughts on the new MSN.com:
I think this minimal problem carries over to the drop down menus where you have minimal menus with a lot of white space over minimal content with a lot of white space and there isn’t enough visual separation between the two and it makes the menus hard to read. I would consider carrying the colors used in the main nav over into the drop downs to create that separation and also help reinforce the different content groupings which could be stronger than having colored nav that all the menus that look exactly the same.
I would find a way to expose the content in the hero image and content area of the page so you can see all of the stories at one glance instead of having to click through them one at a time. I know from experience that the first story in the rotation will get the lion share of the clicks and it will fall off sharp;y from there.
I think it is smart to use ‘bing’ instead of ‘search’ in the main form field to try ad make it a branded verb.
There needs to be a stronger separation between the tier 2 content (Latest, MSNBC, FOX Sports, etc.) and the third tier content below it as I was expecting all the content from the tier 2 tabs down to change.
The search field at the bottom of the page just seems odd as it goes against the engrained user behavior that would tell them to scroll to the top of the page to do a search.
I wish I there were ways to be able to customize the content shown on the home page through content filters as well as the ability to add/remove tabs and change content placement.