August 1, 2014 Last Updated 8:37 am

Chicago Tribune launches new, attractive, if annoying website

The Chicago Tribune has launched a new website, patterned off the same website redesign already implemented at the Los Angeles Times. If you think this is repeating old news it is because it has been less than three years since the last ChiTrib website redesign.

I hated that redesign as it was in the school of thought that less is more when it comes to news sites. One one major story could be seen “above the fold” and utility was sacrificed on the alter of modernity.


Left: old website; Right: new redesign

The new design is an improvement in that it adds a navigation menu on the left side of the home page to assist readers. The home page still remains barren of news stories. In fact, on a giant monitor, there is actual zero headlines that are visible. Somehow, the paper has gone from displaying few news stories to displaying none.

If cigarettes are nicotine delivery devices, the Chicago Tribune’s new site is an ad delivery device as readers this morning will have to deal with expanding ads and pop-ups throughout the site.

But the website really isn’t designed for the desktop anyways, as the paper admits.

“During 18 months of development, we re-imagined every aspect of to create the optimal digital experience for you. We zeroed in on how you want to encounter the news in ways that are revealing, surprising, useful and engaging,” wrote Gerould Kern, Editor of the Trib.

“And it is especially suited for your tablet, smartphone or other mobile device, automatically adapting the content to fit each screen.”

In other words, the new site using responsive design.

Readers will probably respond favorably to the site, the addition of the menu does make the redesign worthwhile.

But the paper’s problems go far beyond its website, of course. In less than a week, the Tribune Company will finalize the spin off of its newspaper properties into Tribune Publishing. The new newspaper company, which also includes The Sun in Baltimore and the Sun Sentinel in Orlando, will be in debt and still paying money to its parent company once the spin off is completed. Although the company recently said it would be buying papers rather than selling them, where it will get the money for such acquisitions is an open question.

  • Concerned Reader 4 years ago

    In a word, the redesign is horrible (at least on desktop monitor). At least 40% of the homepage is taken up by ads. Another 20% is one news story photo, 10% to the menu bar on the left, and with the space left they might fit a headline in. Unfortunately the blazing ads are too disorienting to try to find the actual news, of which there is hardly any. The old design had issues, but this redesign makes the old one look fantastic.

  • evilp 4 years ago

    Annoying is correct. I actually for the first time in years have to check local news on the Sun Times site because it’s so bad on a desktop monitor. I feel like my eyeballs where assaulted just looking at it. At least I can say I’ve never seen a website physically pain me to look at before.