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What do you think of the new MSN.com?

MSN

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.

3 Comments

  1. Carl Hodler

    November 5, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Microsoft just don’t seem to be able to crack simplicity, but I don’t really trust how the page is rendering in Safari to comment more specifically 😉

    Have you seen this post of MSN homepages through Time?

    http://msnblog.msn.com/blogpost.aspx?post=1350394&vv=700

  2. sean day michael

    December 9, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Yes I think it would be beautiful to have the drop downs with Transparent color backgrounds that were only as wide as the button themselves. The buttons should be color blocks and not just those horrible lil lines under floating text-title. create a SOLID NAV BAR as opposed to “apologize” for having one at all which is how it looks now. “Gee sorry we cant be the Gagosian Gallery! we do need a NavBar…aw shucks!”

    If you are a NEWS heavy organization that offers INFO and ENTERTAINMENT and has AWESOME ASSETS for your viewing pleasure… than TRUMPET THAT. Give us something solid.

    I can imagine the current logo size and placement appealing to women who like Kotex ads from the 70’s. Barring that, and especially men.. will NOT respond to that logo size or placement. it looks delicate and flowery. Has No PUNCH, no Impact and gives absolutely NO CLUE as to what kind of organization or company MSN is supposed to be (except possibly a feminine hygiene product)

    they should immediatley contact IGN or someone like the next Paul Rand to develop a Logo that STANDS FOR SOMETHING STRONG.

    why are they hiding?

    thats basically what i get from the overall look of the site and the branding elements in place.

    Maybe they just don’t have enough money to hire awesome talent.

    Heeheheehe.

    No I am sure it is a “TOP DOWN” thing. there is no Steve Jobs running MSN.. and it shows.

    Every corporation needs a “buck Stops here” type of leader that has a definitive VISION of the company and its brand Identity. Not a boardroom of people that are looking at their very own companies brand identity the same EXACT way they are looking at the menu for todays lunch.

  3. paul vela

    September 3, 2010 at 4:00 am

    I think it sucks,looks like newspaper

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Creative Director, Designer, Brand Builder, Speaker, Podcaster, Crazy One. As a designer, I have 20+ years experience creating the strategy, concepts, and designs for award-winning integrated global advertising campaigns, building multiple global Fortune 500 brands and creating innovative digital experiences. As a leader, I have 15+ years transforming agency and client-side teams using a mix of creativity, business strategy, process and political skill to create innovative, world-class work and cultures that change industries and companies. My clients have included American Airlines, W Hotels, Disney, Citi, ExxonMobil, Acura, Old Navy, Nationwide Insurance, Verizon, Subaru and many others. My work has received over 150 international awards, my app designs have been named as one of the World’s 100 Greatest Apps, Apple has featured my work in 9 keynotes, 4 TV commercials and more.

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