New Independent site: what an improvement

There’s no denying the Independent’s new website is a dramatic, and I mean a dramatic improvement. (Mind you, it couldn’t have been any worse.) Presentationally at least, they’re right back up there with their ‘broadsheet’ rivals.

They’ve struck an excellent balance, putting a lot of content and navigation options up-front, without becoming overwhelming. The use of Proximic to deliver related content seems to work well (although I hate the labelling); and the comment functionality, where they’ve chosen to use it, is nicely executed. Countless RSS feeds throughout the site – more than they publicise, as it happens. It looks like you can get an RSS feed of pretty much every level in the navigation structure, simply by adding /rss to the URL. In theory you can also get RSS feeds of search results, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Excusable teething troubles.

Interestingly, when it comes to blogging, everything’s still over at Typepad. (I confess, I never knew they did so much blogging – but judging by the low numbers of comments, nor did/do many others.)

According to the Press Gazette, the site ‘previously carried only news stories that had been repurposed from the newspaper’ – and having dropped by the site several times today, to see a virtually identical homepage, that’s still undoubtedly the core of the web offering. Sure, there’s a bit of ‘today’ copy from PA in there, but that doesn’t constitute rolling publication as such. I’m a bit wary of news that they’ve ‘taken on six members of staff to upload breaking news stories throughout the day’. We’ve surely gone beyond mere ‘uploading’, haven’t we?

But that’s just nit-picking, isn’t it. Well done, Independent. You just caught up, big time.