The Sydney Morning Herald has relaunched their website complete with a new, and according to Twitter, terrible design. The relaunch of the website coincided with the launch of The Sydney Morning Herald as a compact edition, replacing the overly large broadsheet edition.
According to the editors, the changes to the site make the site easier to use. It has streamlined content and grouped related topics together. If you’re wanting a crash course in the changes, and what the editors of SMH think of them, check out their piece on it here.
However, many Twitter users weren’t happy with the changes, angrily posting their frustrations, using the hashtag #bringbackoldsmh.
The main criticism seems to be too much white screen, which is quite true. Compared to the old layout, the new layout is quite spacey, with large margins between sections and even between stories and their headlines. This is more so towards the top of the homepage, with the page tightening up as you scroll down.
But while SMH is trying to make its print edition more popular and easier to read in most locations, it seems more and more people are accessing their news via a more digital means.
Reading the news becomes an act of habit: we have our preferred news sources, our favourite columnists, and our favourite sections and we know where to find them. A massive change like the one The Sydney Morning Herald has undergone is going to challenge our reading habits, and in the first instance make accessing the news more difficult.
And for those who can’t handle the new website, the app for the iPad may be the only choice. It’s easy to use, nice to look at and has the benefit of reminding you of reading a traditional print paper. It’s easy to see the future of print when looking at this app. It will be interesting to see how in the future SMH faces the challenge of the pay wall and retaining readers.
So while SMH is treading in a new direction with a new site and a smaller sized print edition, the future of print itself hasn’t changed: it still lives on in the many possibilities that is the online world. After all, videos and images enhance text, they don’t necessarily replace the beauty of the written word.
What do you think of the changes made by The Sydney Morning Herald? How do you prefer to access your news? Let us know in the comment section below, on our Facebook page or via Twitter.