Some changes to our pages
The eagle-eyed might notice some changes to some pages on the site. These are part of a number of developments designed to improve the way we display stories and information, and - as ever - we want your feedback.
Perhaps the biggest immediate change is the removal of the "also in this section" list of stories from the right-hand side of story pages. The dropdown menu containing the same information disappeared a week ago too.
This has been done for a number of reasons. There is a limit to the amount of links you can put on a page before people just switch off to everything, a limit we think we have gone beyond at times, especially on some of our shorter stories.
All our research and testing shows that very few people actually use the "also in this section" links so these were the unlucky ones when the difficult choice was made about which links should go.
I don't personally think this was a surprise. People, especially sports fans, are always keen to visit links which are directly relevant or "contextual" to the content they are reading.
So the lead story as I write this contains some relevant stories about Wayne Rooney - either from our site or others via our links to other sport sites. These are in a list which I don't think is too long.
Under the old system this list would have contained less directly relevant links about Luke Young, Michael Dawson or Sven's departure. All these stories may still be of interest to England fans so they are still available on the main England World Cup page which is a linked from the story, but we don't think they're absolutely essential to have on this page.
The other more visible change is the move of the audio and video links away from the right-hand side to the central column of stories. This is partly again to "de-clutter" the right-hand side of stories but it is also a recognition that audio and video links are increasingly important to the audience who want to see them in a consistent place, four paragraphs in to the story.
You will also see some other cosmetic changes. In keeping with each sport on the site having its own banner with a different colour (football is red, cricket is green, rugby=blue etc) various visual features are being changed from the greys and purples of old to these colours. We also have a much tidier new link to user-generated content that features some of the really interesting quotes that users increasingly come up with on key stories.
There are also some changes happening to the bottom of stories - new colours and some different links added while others are removed. This is all following research into what people click on, and our index pages will also change in the coming months to reflect this.
The other changes will become apparent when we are doing live events over the coming weeks, especially during the World Cup, Wimbledon and Test cricket. A new form of navigation will start to more sensibly link together coverage in words, pictures and audio/video plus new interactive features. I'll return to discuss this when we have an example.
Despite our research and testing, we are sure not everyone will like all these changes and as ever they will take some getting used to for us all. Please let us know what you think or pose any questions here.