Redesign at

Written by Adrian Holovaty on July 27, 2002

Craig Saila points out that CANOE (Canadian Online Explorer, "Canada's leading news and information site") has redesigned its home page.

I'd never been to the site, but I was struck by how jarringly different its site subsections are -- if "subsections" is an appropriate word. Compare, for instance, CNEWS to SLAM! Sports to C-Health to the Weather page -- all of which are listed in CANOE's "site index." (So I assume they're all considered part of the CANOE site.)

At first look, this is quite overwhelming and disorienting, almost surely proof that branding is not compatible with Web usability.

Then again, each subsection has a strong sense of identity and immerses readers in its content; readers are forced into the sections, one at a time, with no easy way out and limited means of distraction. I wonder whether readers would favor this more immersive type of design over a more traditional layout with, for example, a sitewide standard left rail navbar.

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