Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Chicago Tribune redesign announcement makes me hesitant to truly believe "it's a whole new day"

To much fanfare this week, the Chicago Tribune has announced their redesign/reimagining. I will hold off on an actual look at the redesign until next week when it goes live (but I will say that this prototype didn't make the cut, thank god).

Today, though, I want to give a couple tips on how not to present your content in a way that makes you seem old and out of touch with "the kids." To do so, I will use the Chicago Tribune's redesign announcement, where they proclaim that "it's a whole new day" at the Tribune Towers (a better slogan that the one that currently greets employees as the head to work at the tower every day: "Change is Inevitable").

Tip One: You should have your announcement not exist completely within the context of an embedded web video that won't load on a mobile phone. The kids these days like their phones. I was forwarded the link while I was away from the Internet for a day, but did have access through my phone. But the video wouldn't play--in fact, the page just returned a big blank box where a nice graphic could have gone. So I just stared at a big blank box for an entire day, wondering what it could possibly hold. Speaking of that big blank box...

Tip Two: a 320x240 video is really, really tiny nowadays. On YouTube, their videos run native at 480x360. On Vimeo, I can embed a video many times that size. In HD even. But nope, for the Tribune to make their big announcement--the complete redesign of their flagship paper--a postage stamp-sized video was good enough. Look how silly it looks, swimming in that sea of white:

But pay no attention: It's a whole new day at the Tribune. They swear! Sure, they may not have a site that works a damn on a mobile phone, and yeah, they clearly don't totally understand that web videos can be bigger than the 2002 standard size, but hey. It's new! And it's a day! And they have a section called Play! With the exclamation point! Yay!