Times designer likes Times redesign

The design guru behind the New York Times website has given a ringing endorsement to its British namesake’s recent overhaul.

The London paper’s Times Online site attracted criticism in February when it relaunched with a radical new look that introduced new comment features and more links to opinion pieces.

Some of the response was focused merely on the site’s use of lime green in a new-look masthead while other users endured brief server outages during the switchover.

But Khoi Vinh, design director at NYTimes.com, hailed the latest incarnation as “really wonderful work”, executed with “great aplomb” and “among the best-designed news websites out there”.

“This isn’t just a matter of‘ ‘pouring’ content neatly into columns,” Mr Vinh wrote. “The entire site evidences some very keen understanding of how the grid can inform the expression and placement of various elements.

“The masthead, in particular, very elegantly aligns a silhouetted promotional area on the top right with that large right column.”

But Mr Vinh, who helped execute a large-scale refresh of the New York paper’s website in 2006 and is respected in designer circles for his focus on clean, no-nonsense lines, also had words of criticism for the paper with the same name.

“TimesOnline.co.uk isn’t without its flaws,” he added. “It adheres perhaps too strongly to the same column arrangement throughout, so that there’s no architectural difference between the home page and section fronts, causing a measure of layout monotony as users move from section to section.”

Third-party site designer Sapient late last week issued a press release to announce it had now completed the redesign process. It was entirely the aim to make every story page a similarly-presented jumping-off point, with multiple story links, it said.

“Responding to insights gathered from customer research, the new design transforms every page into a front page, using strong editorial and page layout to lead readers from article to article,” Sapient said.