It’s been a busy few days for us at Turner Broadcasting. Today, CNN.com took the wraps off a beta preview of their new design coming on July 1st (as reported earlier). Full disclosure – I work for Turner Broadcasting, and my ad services team has worked extensively on this project, but the views herein are my own. But as one blog put it:
Something strikes me as… different. I can’t quite put my finger on it. It looks cleaner. Brighter. Cleaner. Grayer. Whiter. Redder. Bluer. Nicer.
The blogs seem to have welcomed the new video treatment (no popup player, and now in Flash!), the Amazon-like ‘We Recommended’ feature, the intelligent use of Ajax, the tabbed presentation in stories highlighting multimedia elements and even, daresay it, the cleaner ad presentation. Some comments do opine for the ability to embed videos on user sites, however. I do think the new site embraces the spirit of Web 2.0, emphasizing the blogosphere on every story (via Sphere) and utilizing Topix for local coverage. Another very cool feature are the new Hot Topics pages, which are being autogenerated for pretty much any story, personality or subject you might dream up; here are a few examples: tuberculosis, Lindsay Lohan, Vioxx, and George W. Bush. As an added bonus, all of these are also available as RSS feeds, huzzah!
As with Gametap 3.0 that launched yesterday, my team has been working on the advertising portions of this project for many months. I’m encouraged to read in some blogs that the ads are less obtrusive, and on the technology side, we’ve really broken what I believe is new ground with some of the underlying approaches, especially around the new video players.
Please do check it out, and be sure to add your comments – there is a handy ‘+Feedback’ link on most pages, and the site wants to hear your opinion. More coverage of the beta can be found here.