New launches at Transcon

August 1, 2008

Transcontinental has recently relaunched two of its sites, canadiangardening.com and styleathome.com, part of what they’re calling “My Home & Garden Network”. I love the increased use of large images – a great fit for such visual-dependent content. I also appreciate how much content they’ve managed to fit above the fold (on a 1024 monitor), although it feels a bit busy, especially with the banner ad at top inserted within the site content. The sites now include upgraded functionality including blogs, RSS, a quiz tool and photo galleries.

Some more notes:

• I’m curious how the three side-by-side feature images will perform as compared to the now-almost-standard rotating image panel, which I’m not generally a fan of.

• I like the blocky home page layout – it makes it very easy to see what’s there at a glance. I do wonder if there’s too much on the home page, though – are that many readers really going to make it to the editor’s picks at the very bottom of the page?

• I like the prominence of the print/email/social networking links – makes them easy to find. However, it might be worth adding them at the bottom of the content as well, to make them more clickable.

• I’m impressed with the functionality of the site once I’m logged in – the ability to “clip” content I want to view later is extremely handy, and I like that I can manage all my home & garden e-newsletter subscriptions in one place. The default avatars are fun (I just wish there were more of them). I do wonder, however, how many people will really want to save or retake quizzes and polls.

• I now know how to clean my tarnished silver jewelry the eco-friendly way – thanks, styleathome.com!

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