MSN Redesign - Part II

Album Cover: In Rainbows

"Words are a sawed-off shotgun."
Radiohead / Jigsaw Falling Into Place

Posted on February 02, 2005 1:44 AM in Web Design
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

Last month (or yesterday, depending on how you want to look at it) I mentioned the MSN redesign and how I didn't really like what I saw. While that hasn't necessarily changed, I do have a bit more to say about it now that some time has passed and some of the dust has settled.

First off, I have to mention that only a few hours after my initial post my girlfriend made the comment that she liked the new MSN home page and that she thought it looked like something I would design. Great! ;)

Her comment provoked me into giving it another look, though, and I realized that it wasn't quite as bad as it first seemed. Choosing "Simple White" by the "Change colors" heading made a noticeable difference, and some of the strange coloring issues I had seen at first glance were now no longer visible (perhaps due to a server-side change that came after I first saw the page, or more likely, a refreshed style sheet).

As it turns out, Doug Bowman has posted a more in-depth review of the change, called MSN goes CSS. Anyone interested in some of the more nitty-gritty details of the redesign – including some of the advancements MSN has made in terms of Web standards and device compliance – should definitely give it a read.

Perhaps the most eye-opening tidbit in all of this is that developers from the MSN team have actually been keeping track of Doug's comments and the comments from his site visitors, even going so far as to post their own comments and solicit feedback.

As much as I am underwhelmed with what MSN has done design-wise with this recent update, I have to agree with Doug in saying that some of the things they are doing under the covers are significant, to say the least.


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