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Star Tribune web redesign: Open thread

The Strib’s new website is live; feel free to post your comments and questions below. I’ll try to get answers to the latter if necessary, and I’ll update this item as the mood strikes. Fans, be real.

The Strib’s new website is live; feel free to post your comments and questions below. I’ll try to get answers to the latter if necessary, and I’ll update this item as the mood strikes. Fans, be real. Haters, please snark responsibly.

My earlier review is here. The early consensus among the Twitter tomato-throwers seems to be that the site looks a lot better — nice, even. If you can impress that crowd, you’ve achieved something.

A few things I wasn’t able to test in my first take:

♦ Page loading seems faster but material still seems to arrive in waves. For you geeks, journalist Tom Lany says 40 or so javascript files are a lot.

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♦ The main “hero box” (also known as the “rotator box”) for top stories is cleaner, but sometimes clicking on a link is trying to hop on a moving bike. The stories seem to jump too quickly if you try to control it with the directional arrows.

♦ Closed-circuit to iPad users who like the text-distilling (and ad-destroying) app Reeder: looks like the Strib has broken the Readability link, so you’ll have to click through to the actual web page. Can’t really blame ’em for that, business-wise. But the site still gives a weird “404: Page Not Found” error as it tries to link subscribers to subscriber-only coverage.

♦ The Strib is breaking stories into fewer pages, an overdue improvement it made a few months ago. (This makes City Pages the stand-alone pagination abuser.) The new Strib site includes a new “read full article” link at the bottom of page one. It might not be something you use that much, since even long stories rarely exceed two pages; it’s just as easy to click the “2.” But it’s a smart option.

As for stuff I mentioned last week, here’s a good example of how a bigger photo hole helps the improved story layout. There’s a non-intuitive “show/hide” option for captions to get the full immersion. But on the whole, I really like the graphics bump-up.

As promised, the pages really do contain fewer ads, which is great. However, BringMeTheNews senior director Tom Elko notes that Target is its own section on the main menu bar.

Elko is also the early front-runner for the buzzkill award, tweeting, “StarTribune blew a huge opportunity to improve their advertising platform. Banner ads will not sustain you and [pay]walls will not protect you.”

It’s always fun to look at the new staff photos!

OK, your turn.