Big things at Sky News

The new Sky News website is open for public beta viewing, and there are some significant developments.
The use of actual moving video in the homepage’s ‘top stories’ carousel area is a genuine surprise, and I think it works, although there must be significant implications on the content production and technical sides. Personally, I don’t think I’d have moved the ‘left hand margin’ to be a thick horizontal bar across the top, particularly since it pushes the page’s defining element (at least partially) ‘below the fold’.
There’s a registration-only ‘story tracker’ function, allowing you to subscribe to a (seemingly very limited) selection of major story threads, with updates appearing in a sidebar. And there’s a much-needed rationalisation of their chaotic blogs, although slightly disappointingly, they’ve pulled the blogs into the same un-blog-like presentation as the main site. Instinctively, that feels like the wrong way to do it. I’m seeing more and more people wanting to make their big, ugly CMSes more like blog platforms.
But is it a better experience overall? I’m not convinced. There’s little improvement in look or feel: it’s all (still) a bit blocky, and I’m not fond of the huge Arial headlines.
My view of Sky remains that they should be accepting they can’t come close to matching the BBC, and should instead make a virtue of their smaller, more agile setup. The Sky brand is all about ‘breaking news’, and nobody is better placed to become ‘the site you go to as soon as news breaks’. This is not that site.

2 thoughts on “Big things at Sky News”

  1. To me, it seems a little messy and cluttered. They have tried to put so much content on each and every page that there is now just ‘stuff’ everywhere, in every available space; and most of it is not related to the actual article you want.
    Perhaps people want pictures, but there does seem to be an overly large number covering huge areas of page space.
    As you say, just not to the BBC’s standards

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