CNN Redesigns

Published 13 years, 4 months ago

Everybody’s favorite fringe news organization, CNN, has updated the design of their Web site.  Unlike the last three changes of design, I actually like this one out of the gate.  Yes, I always got used to the old designs and quickly at that, but at first I disliked them.  This time I’m impressed.  It’s a little bit sparse, but the restrained use of whitespace is a refreshing change from many news sites (*cough*Fox News*cough*).

In part, this may be because the design isn’t a redesign so much as a tasteful makeover of the old design.  By that, I mean that everything’s basically in the same place as before, just with a more serious look.  However, it’s the addition of extra functionality that really appeals to me.  For example, most section boxes now have the title followed by unobtrusive links to the main section page, video or other media, and then partner links.  These links add a lot without upsetting the apple cart, as it were.

I also note with a good deal of interest that CNN’s video clips are now free; previously, you had to pay money to see their video.  What forces led them to drop the subscription fee, I wonder?  I can think of some likely candidates, but it would be interesting to hear from CNN why they did it.

Of course, they’re only free if you have the Windows Media Player 9 plugin installed.  Otherwise, they’re simply unavailable.  Gah!


  1. Here’s their validation report. Ick.

  2. 63 errors? Come on now. I’m as much of a purist as the next guy, but for a big site like CNN, that’s nothing. (No, I’m not justifying it… I know there are plenty of big sites that validate, and I think every site should validate.. I’m just sayin’.)

  3. Like you, I detest the new format that FoxNews is using. It’s clutter, popups, and force-feeding. CNN’s new look is definitely an improvement. Now if they could only work on the content.

  4. Now if they could only work on the content.

    Wait, I’m confused– when you say that, are you talking about CNN or Fox News?

  5. Maybe I’m biased but I still prefer the layout of the BBC News site. With the CNN site there is too much happening below “the fold”. Still it could be a cultural thing.

  6. The Sydney Morning Herald appears to still be ahead of the crowd! How large media organisations can redesign in 2005 whilst still using tables as the foundation of their design… eugh! Visually I prefer the SMH website over those of most other media organisations, too, although Australia’s publicly-owned ABC radio and television network is also standards compliant and visually not-too-bad.

  7. Wait, I”m confused– when you say that, are you talking about CNN or Fox News?

    That confusion comes from watching CNN. It will pass, my friend.

  8. That confusion comes from watching CNN. It will pass, my friend.

    Yeah, getting balanced reporting looking at multiple sides of a story does tend to leave one more confused than the heavily one-sided stuff you get elsewhere.

    Actually, I kid—I don’t watch CNN. Or Fox, or MSNBC, or the “Big Three”, or…

  9. Ian raised an excellent point. The BBC gives a more digestable chunk. Need we also discuss feeds from CNN compred with the BBC? I am subscribed to various feeds from both. In CNN: user hits title, “No description available”. Now that’s useful, right? Why even syndicate if the subscriber gets 2-word provocative titles? The BBC is different, possibly because it has no commercial interests (ads). It also opened its news API to the public recently.

  10. Nah, it’s fixed width, leaving a huge chunk of white and using pixel-sized fonts. Same goes for the two other news sites, is it so hard to flow the layout?

  11. Eric –

    I rarely watch network or cable news, and when I want to know multiple sides of an issue, I search news.google.com and look at multiple sides. The big three are next to worthless.

  12. Although I’m happy to see the redesign, and it appears to be faster, I’m a little dissapointed in the table-based layout. If ESPN and the Kansas City Chief’s web site can use CSS for layout, there’s no reason why CNN couldn’t either.

    Still, I see a significant speed improvement in load times.

  13. CNN should upgrade to xhtml… most of those errors showing up at the moment though, are easy fixes.

    As for the Sydney Morning Herald, they’re really ahead of the game when it comes to css and not using tables (their xhtml could use a bit of work though), but from a useability standpoint, I think that cnn is doing a lot better. Clear headlines, navigation that stands out, page isn’t cluttered.

    Each one has it’s pros and cons.

  14. ya nice design….

    But out of all the site cnn should be the leader in accessibility, taking full advantage of css, xhtml, rss and all the acronyms out there ;)

    Them nothing going with xhtml, is just them saying they are above that (kinda like microsoft)

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