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FT: Bringing the Newspaper online?

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 10th November 2008

Tomorrow the FT will launch a new homepage on its website.

It is quite hard to review the developments in detail until the site is live and can be used, but the screenshots released today show a few interesting changes. Firstly the use of the FT’s iconic ‘pink’ as a background colour (this will apparently be rolled out site-wide in due course). Also, the title is now Financial Times rather than

The header also looks very ‘Newspapery’ in design. Indeed, speaking with paidContent:UK, editor James Montgomery suggests that increasing the parallels between print and online is deliberate. He adds that

“We think the Financial Times is a very strong brand and we want the website to have that core brand identity, not be some separate distant thing that it has been in the past.”

This adds to the online v print debate.

I don’t have a problem with a website trying to look like a newspaper per se and I can understand the thinking behind it. The FT’s brand image is very closely aligned with the print version – I always think of the pin-striped suit/FT-pink combo!

I can remember the Independent trying a similar layout in the past and it never seemed to gel properly. It will be interesting to see how the usability of the homepage works when it is launched tomorrow.

I will also be intigued to see how the ‘incremental’ development process works throughout the rest of the site. This is the route that the Guardian and BBC both adopted for their recent redesigns and, whilst I can see the obvious benefits, with the Guardian in particular, I couldn’t help but feel that the whole site became disjointed and lacked cohesiveness throughout the transitional period. has an interesting video interview (see below) with Kate Mackenzie, interactive editor for the FT, who describes how the new content management system will help to define the editorial decisions made: “At the moment we have a fairly old-fashioned approach to organising the relationship between stories online, but it’s going to become a lot more dynamic and tag driven.”

This is a more interesting development and embraces the unique ability of a website to help users discover information that is of interest that they might not have discovered otherwise.

Danny Whatmough