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What If the Community Hates What You Do?

USA Today launched its new website design. The folks, like me, who want more community outreach love the concept of USA Today interacting with the audience. However, what happens when the community hates what you do?

In the comments on the new design the words hate and terrible recur so often I started to think maybe one person is writing the comments under various email accounts. Any how, here is an example:

I have had USA Today as my home page for years. The redesign is absolutely horrible. Bring back the old page. If not, I will switch to a new home page and site for my current events highlights. You really missed the mark with this one!!

Or this:

Your new layout is more disastrous and embarrassing than the Jack Kelley scandal.

So now what do you do? Will be interesting to see how USA Today folks communicate and work with their audience. In the news business after every redesign the designers ready themselves for criticism, writing it off that readers don’t like change.

However, maybe, like the Atlanta Journal-
Constitution, they took the Web 1.0 approach
rather than the Web 2.0 approach. The redesign might have been an excellent place to tap into the collective intelligence. Why not, while having the old site in place, run a parallel Beta site at which they released early and often with plenty of user input and refine it over and over again until they get a site that meets the needs of all Robert Picard’s stakeholders — investors, management, journalists, consumers, advertisers and the general society.

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