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Xtra Makeover

, posted: 2-Oct-2006 08:01

Looks like Xtra just had its makeover last night.

From the glimpse, it seems like not much has changed. But then it caught my eyes, the main menu now is Flash-based. What caught my attention is the flash newsbit is in slight different interface with numbers/index at the bottom middle, this is handy as it can give indication of how many story is in the preview.

However, this Flash menu brought me concern; What if someone do not have Flash installed? That's the primary question that all web developers should be asking themselves, and whether there is a contigency plan if the site visitor insisting not to install Flash?

Anyhow, I think it is a very subtle makeover, nothing extreme though.

I guess, there will be one day (soon) that Xtra will drop the MSN part as it seems Telecom is "dumping" partnership with Microsoft...

(I wonder whether Microsoft will partner with Vodafone or TelstraClear? Hmmmm?)





More information

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Comment by blahbmc, on 2-Oct-2006 10:16

The Xtra web site has required Flash to view the preview news items for a long time now anyway. If your PC doesn't have flash installed now, there is a heck of a lot of the internet that you are missing out on!!


Comment by freitasm, on 2-Oct-2006 10:42

Not necessarily missing but probably disconnected for a long time.

Most flash sites are really bad in terms of navigation and usability in general. I generally click the "Low bandwidth" version of a site when it exists - plain good old HTML.

Have you tried using HTML only on a fast broadband connection? Is so much better that anything with flash...

 


Comment by blahbmc, on 2-Oct-2006 11:04

Yeah you're right, most flash sites are fairly poorly put together. A really nice flash site is a good thing though.

I agree, viewing a site using HTML on a fast broadband connection is a lot better!


Author's note by chiefie, on 2-Oct-2006 11:37

IT is not whether I'll be missing out or not. Many sites employed Flash in a very wrong way.

Some visitors would rather get to the news or content without fancy stuff. Which to me getting news is important than utilising their Flash to present news. Luckily I do have Flash, but from my web developer hat, Xtra's site failed to deliver content to some potential visitors that just want content and not Flash candy.

A good use of Flash should also have a good backup of delivering content, either via light HTML or RSS or whatever "lean and light" method, and not forcing anyone to use Flash when they clearly don't want to.

With previous Xtra's site, the navigation to the left where the categories are listed, were in HTML link, now they're all in Flash. I don't consider that flashy at all.


Comment by Damian, on 2-Oct-2006 14:15

They have the menu as non-flash by default and are using Javascript to detect whether your browser has Flash. If so the Javascript replaces the static html content with a flash-enabled menu. The technology has been around for a long time - it's just not used as often as it should.


Comment by bradstewart, on 2-Oct-2006 15:00

The site has actually changed a lot. I don't like it. And its broken in IE7. See the picture...

http://www.geekzone.co.nz/blogimage/bradleystewart/xtra.png


Comment by Bob, on 2-Oct-2006 16:19

I hate the flash menu. It was my main motivation in no longer using xtra.co.nz as my homepage when they first changed over. As I can't get Broadband in my area the menu can be slow, but is usually has connection problems and doesn't load at all. I used to like the text layout, much like my new homepage stuff.co.nz has.

But whatever, it's their site...


Comment by Aaron, on 2-Oct-2006 20:13

Uh, why did they do that? It doesn't seem to do anything besides mouseover effects that are trivial with javascript. Now that's a complete waste of Flash. Make your site less accessible for no gain.


Author's note by chiefie, on 3-Oct-2006 10:03

Hey Bob and Aaron, I agree. Having Flash doesn't necessary mean it is good and as you folks have identified, it is actually deterring site visitors away.

Oh well, it is their site, and as being part of Telecom and looking at Telecom's site, it is just as confusing and hard to find the info you want!!

At our work, we are undergoing some content audit and remove useless content and hopefully to streamline the content and spice up with a bit of information architecture to make sure information are flowing correctly and site visitors can get to the right content without confusion.


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