You know I'm on vacation because I actually pick up a PRINT version of the WSJ at a local coffee shop and start reading it. What caught my attention is that the paper has been re-designed just in time for the new year. The re-design stresses bolder headlines, a brighter look and even a new font created specifically for the WSJ called "Exchange".
The re-design adheres to eight key principals as outlined by Mario R. Garcia, CEO of Garcia Media:
1. Make it easier for readers to navigate the Journal.
2. Create a hierarchy of stories, so readers know the relative importance of news.
3. Maintain the best visual traditions of the Journal.
4. Remember that Journal readers come to read, not to look.
5. Innovate graphically where improvements can be made.
6. Don't skimp on good journalism.
7. Balance long-form stories with secondary readings and quick story summaries.
8. Guide readers to the Online Journal, but don't overdo it.
You'll have to read section G8 in January 2nd's edition for the full descriptions. After reading the piece, I couldn't help but feeling that the WSJ is engaged in a delicate balancing act. On one hand, they want to stay true to their brand by stressing text and long form content. On the other, it seems they are making changes to accomodate reader "scanning". Bolder headlines, a brighter color palette and visuals are all techniques that help people get through content quickly. The emphasis on making the WSJ easier to read reminds me of what we try to do on content heavy Web pages. In short, I think the effort is aimed at both preserving tradition while inderectly acknowledging that the way people absorb content is changing. The WSJ needs to support readers who "submerge" as well as those who "skim". And the reference to gently pointing folks online also underscores the delicate balance between tradition and relevancy.
Anyway, I though the re-design article was interesting. On a totally unrelated note, I've been doing all of my blogging in the past week on nothing but a T-Mobile Sidekick. It's been kind of nice to be away from the laptop, but still be able to produce and share content. I think we'll see an vast increase in mobile blogging once Wi-Fi networks and mobile devices with usable typepads become more pervasive.