To match the new look of the paper, The Toronto Star redesigned its Web site, which had been less than pretty. The new site uses white space well, and is crisply and cleanly designed (the work of freelance designer Simone Paradisi). Unfortunately it still uses unreadable long CMS-generated URLs. Some quickly noted improvements:
- The date and last update time is clearly placed in the top of the page.
- Key functionality — often buried on other sites — is made easily available. A new large bar across the top of the pages contains a jump menu to the major sections, a 14-day search, a stock lookup, the day’ weather, and a small ad.
- Story tools (next, previous, print, email) are repeated at the top and the bottom of the pages.
- Styles used to adjust font size, weight, and family.
Some (picky) downsides:
- No DOCTYPE, unescaped
&s, and many graphics lack
- Although table use is reduced, the site lacks semantic mark-up (e.g.,
fontused instead of heading elements).
- The long, ugly URLs.
Overall, it’s a tremendous visual improvement, and based on a brief visit, seems more usable. By the way, if Toronto is “where you live” you may be able to pick-up one of million-plus free copies being distributed today.
A beta version of Opera 7 has been posted to the company’s FTP site. The release is not “official” but may be by the time it’s morning in Oslo — bug reporting may be allowed by then, too. Opera 7 is a complete rebuild of the browser’s rendering engine and promises more complete W3C DOM support (and favicons, too). Follow the discussion in the opera.beta newsgroup.