April 21, 2015 Last Updated 4:33 pm

The Wall Street Journal launches redesigned, responsive website

Later this week, the Journal promises to launch on the Apple Watch, issuing an update to its current iPhone app

The Wall Street Journal, unlike its competitor the Financial Times, did not abandon apps, and yet still has enjoyed good digital success. But its website certainly could have used updating and today the paper unveiled its new design.

WSJ-new-site-iPadLike most new sites it is, of course, responsive. But unlike some attempts, the new WSJ still keeps a decent number of stories “above the fold” – though not as many as I would like.

Part of the problem with modern web design is that it has to juggle multiple goals: ad visibility, responsiveness, as well as readability. Some site, like those of the Gannett papers, fail miserably. Others, the Tribune company sites, feel like they were designed for mobile only viewing.

The WSJ designers look like they were trying to balance the traditional look of the paper and also the rather traditional looking NYT home page, with a more modern (if not always better) look that offers more white space and better ad placements.

WSJ-iphone“The new site is much more visual in nature, showcasing our multimedia reporting, while improving our site performance in the process,” wrote Gerald Baker, editor-in-chief. “We have also overhauled our market-data tool with a sleek new design that integrates data points critical to the modern investor. Most important, the overall news experience is streamlined and consistent across every device, wherever you may be.”

The announcement for the new site does not fail to mention advertising and visibility.

“The uncluttered background provides an elegant environment for display advertising, while our inventive native and custom executions will enjoy even more visibility and flexibility,” said Trevor Fellows, Global Head of Advertising Sales. “And of course, our best in class Viewability score is only further enhanced on our new site.”

New website designs are a bit hard to judge at unveiling as many readers immediately post negative comments about the design. Sometimes bugs and other problems only arise after a day or two of use. But my own impression of the site is positive. What do you think?

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