As Slate’s design director–yes, I’m wearing black–I could essay at length about the redesign that debuts in today’s issue. I could speak volumes about our ambition to balance white space with type, and art with copy. About our quest to create more readable Web pages. About new navigation that makes dancing through Slate to find interesting articles all but effortless.
But instead of boring you with self-serving “designspeak,” I’ve prepared a concise roll call of what’s new and different in the new and different Slate–our first complete redesign since we launched in 1996.
New Content Views
We’ve created three new ways to view Slate contents.
- “New Today” lists everything posted since 7 p.m. ET the previous day.
- “Complete” lists the entire current content of Slate.
- The “Navigation Banner,” that maroon stripe that says “Slate” at the top and bottom of every Slate page, uses color coding and drop-down menus to give you access to any page in Slate from any other page in Slate. The only catch is you have to have a modern browser such as Internet Explorer 4.0 or 5.0 or the forthcoming Netscape 5.0 browser.
I’ll tell you more about how to use the Navigation Banner in just a minute.
New Today is the default home page of Slate, which means it’s what you’ll see when you go to www.slate.com. If you want to see a list of the entire current content, just click the Complete button on the Navigation Banner. If you really prefer this one, we encourage you to bookmark it (in Netscape Navigator) or put it in your browser’s Favorites folder (in Internet Explorer).
We’ve sorted our content into four sections: “Briefing,” “Features,” “24/Seven,” and “Utilities.”
Think of the Briefing section as your quick hit on the day’s and week’s news. “Today’s Papers, summarizes the five top U.S. dailies every morning by 7 ET. “International Papers” does the same for the world press three times a week. “In Other Magazines” sizes up the Time, Newsweek, and other major periodicals–usually before they hit your mailbox or local newsstand. We also chart the critical consensus about books, movies, art, and music in “Summary Judgment” and spare you from having to watch the Sunday talk shows by offering you the gist in “Pundit Central” (check in Sunday evening to prepare for Monday sessions at the water cooler). There’s more good stuff in Briefing, including “Explainer,” “The Week/The Spin,” and “Slate Favorites” (dozens of useful links to other reportage and commentary–and gossip–on the Web). We invite you to explore.
Under the Features rubric, we’ve grouped our regular articles, news commentary, and arts and culture features. This is also where you’ll find our regular columnists–such as Paul Krugman on economics, Jacob Weisberg on culture, David Plotz on politics, David Edelstein on movies, Anne Hollander on fashion, and more.
24/Seven pulls together the Slate features that are updated repeatedly throughout the week: Our daily “Diary”; the e-mail give-and-take of “The Breakfast Table” and “The Book Club” and “Dialogues” about the pressing issues of the day; e-mail dispatches from hither and yon; as well as our “Moneybox” meditations on business, “Chatterbox” commentaries on politics, and “Culturebox” on … well, you guess.
Think of Utilities as your Slate toolbox, the place to get Slate business done. Go to Utilities to send us an e-mail, to get e-mail from us, to sound off about an article, to search Slate’s archives, or to update your member profile info. (You say you’re not a Slate member?! Click here to sign up for just $19.95 and enjoy a world of benefits, including e-mail delivery and access to our archives.) Click on Utilities if you want to print the entire issue using Microsoft Word, or if you’re dying to inspect our masthead (“BoilerSlate“).
Navigation, Navigation, Navigation
I promised to teach you how to use the Navigation Banner, didn’t I? So, here goes. (Remember you must have Internet Explorer 4.0 or better or the forthcoming Netscape Navigator for this function to work.)
Move your cursor to the Navigation Banner at the top of this page, and click on the Briefing section head. A “drop down” menu will appear and reveal the contents of Briefing. Now, move your cursor to the other section heads. Additional menus listing the contents will drop down. To select an article in a drop down menu, click on it. Congratulations, you’ve mastered Slate navigation.
The beauty of the Navigation Banner is that every page now contains a complete Slate table of contents. You don’t have to click back to the big table of contents every time you find more good stuff to read. Of course, if you fancy the big table of contents, just click New Today, Complete, or the Slate logo.
More Good Navigation News
Another fabulous thing about the drop down menus is that they list the headlines of the most recent postings in multiple-entry departments such as The Breakfast Table, Dialogues, Diary, and Explainer.
Even More Good Navigation News–“Today in Slate”
Running down the left side of every article you’ll find “Today in Slate,” which is our attempt to persuade you to check out other good stuff currently on our site. These would be on any topic. By contrast “Related in Slate” box contains links to relevant Slate pieces–new or old–that are related to the page you are currently reading. We’ll also continue to list links to the best Internet sites and to pertinent articles in the “Related on the Web” box. Look for both boxes at the bottom of most stories.
Have I left anything out? I think not. But we’re eager to hear what you think about our new look and feel. Please address your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.