Inside Story

Behind the scenes in the Observer's newsroom with Executive Editor Rick Thames

'Kudos' to new

Some are disappointed, but the majority say the total remake of our former site was well worthwhile.

08/01/2008 12:00 AM

09/08/2008 7:58 PM

One of the best features about our newly designed Web site,, is that you get a chance to comment on virtually every story and column we post.

Dozens of you took that opportunity Thursday in reaction to the new site, which debuted at 7 a.m. The first reader comment to arrive, at 7:01, was short and sweet.

“The new site looks awesome!”

Sure did to us, especially in comparison to that blank screen at 6:59 a.m.

The new is a total remake of our former site, That made Thursday morning's switch from old to new a very tricky maneuver that had been months in the making.

Not all the pieces immediately fell into place. Our staff worked hard to repair glitches throughout the day, and we expect to find still more as the site gets more use.

But a majority of you who left comments at the bottom of my introductory column said the change was worth it.

“Kudos on a fantastic makeover,” said one. “I don't care what anyone says, the site looks fresh, crisp, and dazzling.”

Some were disappointed for obvious reasons. For a time, people using Internet Explorer browsers couldn't open photo slideshows (that's fixed now). The site sometimes loaded sluggishly (a temporary ailment, attributable to the switch of platforms). Check the box to the right for frequently asked questions that may explain a problem you experienced.

One reader, disappointed with the overall appearance, speculated colorfully on how we created it.

“Looks like someone crammed content in a shot-gun and blasted it across the front page,” said one. “Awful and cluttered design.”

Another somehow smelled politics at work.

“All this change in the paper is driving me batty,” the reader wrote. “The paper was liberal before it sold out to McClatchy. Now it's ultra-liberal.”

Others who liked what they saw said they would not miss the old look at all.

“I've been waiting a long time for you guys to shake up that site,” said one. “It looks great.”

If you haven't already, we hope you'll go have a look for yourself. And do talk back.

To alert us to technical problems, e-mail us at If you'd like to offer your opinion, or read the opinions of others, try out the online comments feature attached to this column.

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