Spectator Website Redesign

By Ryan McGreal
Published June 13, 2007

Until today, the Hamilton Spectator's website sucked ass. It was ugly, cramped, disorganized, non-intuitive, slow to load, hard to find anything, and severely search-deficient.

With a stylish redesign that closely tracks the new design of the Toronto Star (Torstar, the company that owns the Star, also owns the Spec), most of these issues have been resolved.

Hamilton Spectator website redesign
Hamilton Spectator website redesign

The blue, green and white colour scheme is bright and cheerful (if slightly cramped), with eye-pleasing gradients, crisp lines and decent use of white space.

Aside: if you count yourself among the benighted masses still using Internet Explorer 6, you'll find that the new Spec website is still slow to load. All I can say is that your browser is six years old and due for replacement.

Firefox and Opera are both good, and Safari, the signature Mac browser, has just released a beta that works on Windows.

Plus, they're all free, support tabbed browsing, render pages faster, and generally provide a more enjoyable web browsing experience.

Raise the Hammer works better on a newer browser as well. :)

Headings make more sense and are deployed in a logical, easy-to-follow manner without cumbersome JavaScript pop-up secondary menus to navigate.

Headlines and summaries of linked articles are now available at a glance, instead of having to click a small plus-symbol to pop out the summary.

Better still, every page now has a basic search form. Before, you had to click on a search hyperlink, which took you to a page that had links to three search options: past seven days, browse by date, or paid archive search.

The new design improves on this with a straightforward, simple search form that covers the past 90 days. (The paid archive search is still available as well.)

Best of all, they decided to preserve pre-existing links instead of burning their bridges. The linked pages currently look like a hybrid of the old layout and the new colour scheme, but it's better than nothing.

It's nice to see Hamilton's premiere print media publication slowly starting to exlore the potential of an online presence. Congratulations to the Spec web design team for a solid redesign that improves significantly on the site.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.

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By speculatoR (anonymous) | Posted June 13, 2007 at 13:16:52

Now if only they could fix the content.....

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