After more than a dozen years of bringing you our content surrounded by yellow and green, CNET is getting a new look. As you can see above, the carnival of colors is being replaced by a cleaner look that pivots off our content and our updated red CNET logo.
Our designers and engineers have been at work on this site revamp for many months, incorporating feedback based on the activities of millions of users and scores of alpha testers in our labs. Now we are entering the first phase of our beta release. A small percent of random visitors to CNET.com will be presented with the new look on the home and Reviews pages. Revised CNET News and Downloads sites will be in beta test in a few weeks.
Why redesign the CNET site?
Web sites are in a state of continuous evolution, and over the years, CNET has undergone several minor facelifts. We decided it was time for a more substantial change that did a better job of presenting our content to 17 million monthly visitors (Nielsen/NetRatings, May 2008).
CNET started out in 1992 as c/net, meaning Computer Network, a 24-hour cable network about computers and technology with original online content. CNET online launched in June 1995 and quickly became a huge success. Over the years, we stuck with the neon yellow legacy from the TV days as the Internet grew to encompass all forms of media.
We had two key goals with this CNET revamp--make the site easier to use and speed it up. Simplicity is the major theme of this design, and that includes the new "pipeless" CNET logo, a more consistent site structure and a streamlined color palette.
The back-end infrastructure has also been reengineered. We have a new API that is helping to deliver pages 40 to 50 percent faster, and makes it easier for our partners, such as Yahoo and Univision, to work with our content.
All together, the new look, as in the Reviews page below, provides a much improved framework for exposing our content, which is the ultimate purpose of the design.
It's a work in progress, so if you land on the new pages, give us some feedback (fill out the brief feedback form linked at the top of the pages).
We will be making changes and opening the revamped site up to additional users over the next several weeks as it stabilizes.