Since it first launched in 1995, CNN's Web site has always delivered a broad variety of news to a broad audience. The site's design -- generally jam-packed with dozens of headlines that might be catnip to news junkies, but can be overwhelming to more casual browsers -- has generally reflected that content stream. On Monday, however, CNN.com will launch a new design (its first since 2007) that incorporates a roomier, less crowded look with a bigger emphasis on pictures, video, citizen journalism, social networking, entertainment, and pop culture. Last night, CNN general manager KC Estenson gave reporters an early look at the new site.
The biggest change is the overall look of the site. CNN.com's current home page features a main story with a big picture and then a bunch of different sections with text-based story links (some videos offer thumbnail pictures to break up all that text, but not much). The new design places a big playable video right at the top and a second big picture to the left that links to a citizen-journalist 'iReport.' Below that is a set of clickable pictures and videos leading to stories underneath. Yes, there are still plenty of headlines, but the revamped site generally offers a greater balance between images and text than the current one, making for a pleasing browsing experience.