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Msnbc.com Redesign Launches

November 18th, 2007 by Hans Bjordahl :: 4 Comments

It took eleven months, seven concurrent projects, multiple teams, and the hard work of dozens of brilliant and dedicated people, and on the second weekend in November it all came together in a singular moment when the new msnbc.com redesign was launched and unveiled to the public.

As co-director of the overarching redesign project at msnbc.com (which we call the “UX Evolution”), the launch leaves me simultaneously exhilarated and exhausted.

Whether you love it or hate it (and redesigns always spark a livid debate along those lines), this is a redesign of some import. For starters, msnbc.com is fortunate enough to be firmly ensconced on the leading edge of the news industry, surging with a steady stream of new users who are abandoning traditional news sources, such as newspapers and the venerable evening newscast, in droves. As such, we’re at an inflection point where the decisions we make in the context of such a redesign have a real shot at influencing not just our 30 million users, but the direction of the industry as a whole. Second, msnbc.com made a conscious decision to move beyond the stale “Web 2.0 template” that was once considered cutting edge, but is now stamping sites large and small with the same numbing aesthetic orthodoxy. Thirdly, there’s more to the redesign than meets the eye, as the project also delivered a significant evolution in how high-traffic, high-volume Web publishing itself is architected and managed.

Heady stuff, especially for a J-school grad like myself who’s honored and thrilled to have such a seat on the bridge of the industry. You can find my post on msnbc.com’s “Alpha Channel” blog detailing some travails of the project here. Now it’s time to catch up on some sleep.

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Bug Bash is a comic strip written and illustrated by Hans Bjordahl. Bug Bash is a comic strip about technology: managing technology, the business of technology. It's about project management and managing projects through the dull world of Rational Rose, use cases, and requirements. Functional requirements, user requirement, functional specifications, design specifications, call it what you want but it's still the bane of project managers. And when you're done with that, you can think about all the fun that comes with timelines, scheduling, estimates (PERT estimation anyone?) and resourcing until Gantt charts are coming out of your ears. Let's not forget the risk management in the software engineering life cycle. Maintaining the project is just as much fun, managing what was initially set out in requirements and trying to keep feature creep / scope creep in check with change management. If any of these words send nightmares to you, the project manager, then this site probably rings true with you. (Who Links Here?)