Nothing New Under the Sun has relaunched. Another news website in Germany looks like anybody else. (Talking about,,,,…)

Come to think of it, I should be rather proud, as the recipe everybody is converging upon is basically the same that we came up with nearly 10 years ago when we worked on the 1998 Spon5 relaunch.

If you compare what is now standard to our original solution, only the main section navigation has been taken from the left side to the top at most sites (including, but with the notable exception of Some (like Focus, Welt and Sueddeutsche) have settled for a two-column area for the smaller department teasers and headlines – something we had also considered for Spon5 (as you can see from the following scribble), but finally decided against.

Scribble Spon5 May 19, 1998

The scribble (click on it for a larger version) does not show the final version of Spon5, but an earlier stage of development. Along with the very elegant first designs by Peter Fischer of the Multi-M web agency it would make for a great little museum exhibit. (Fischer’s vision, though a little heavy on the graphic side, is still in many respects superior to the present run-of-the-mill layout in my eyes.)

Other progress we’ve made in the weeks following the scribble:

  • Convincing Fischer that the middle column with additional teasers and navigation belonged to the right side, even though this seemed a little boring even in the late 90s;
  • Introducing the now-common sequence of highlighted lead story teasers, followed by the department sections, each with a smaller lead story and some headlines, respectively.

So much for the pre-history of the current relaunch. But seriously, couldn’t you all come up with something new after such a long time?


  1. The “New and Improved” isn’t that surprising – I mean, it only took 10 years for the most conservative newspaper to get their hands on a book on usability!

    seriously: anything else than a run-of-the-mill-website would have surprised me. German newspapers aren’t that innovative in their websites (the magazines even less so – check the one I’m working at… typo3, no admin or designer in the whole house). But sometimes I wonder if there really is that much difference between the papers – most articles could be switched between them without anybody noticing (except Die Zeit, of course). With all the “carefully weighted opinions” and mainstreamed writers, the newspapers (in my opinion) are writing themselves into a state of oblivion. Very much like Media Markt and Saturn, which are both part of Metro Group. And by now not even seemingly sophistcated persons choke on “Ich bin doch nicht blöd”, as long as it is advertised with the face of a second-class-comedian…

    p.s: beautiful header 🙂

  2. I completely agree.

    (And thanks for the positive feedback to my header. Semfira misses the old one: Same score but with red letters. Some task for quiet winter afternoons.)

  3. Glückwunsch zum Redesign von Scarlatti – hellgraue, leicht angerundete Kästen mit grünen Links – das fließt ja so richtig in Richtung Kooptech 😉 Eigentlich bräuchtest du jetzt nur noch eine ganz dezente Scarlatti-Vertonung, die je nach Top-Beitrag variiert …

  4. I like that idea!
    If you look at a entry in single-page-view, some music would be nice. Or maybe music on every site, synced to the header-picture, whick displays the notes in red as they are played? And the Play/Pause-Button is the Image itself?
    Well, might be a bit of work, but the result would be great…
    And in 10 years could copy it… 😉

  5. It’s not really surprising that has decided to go with the mainstream. You have to master the mainstream before becoming individual.

    By the way: The Scarlatti-Song is quite nice. I like it.

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