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A quick reality check on the new site

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Our new home page and news sections have been live for about a week. Anecdotal evidence (emails from site visitors, feedback through the support portal, and what the other parents at my kids' bus stop tell me) suggests that it's a good thing.

People like the site's renewed focus on the News & Observer brand - high-quality, in-depth local news coverage on things that matter. We did this by putting the content you want higher up on the page - even if there isn't a big pretty picture to go along with it.

Which is not to downplay the importance that big pretty pictures play in making our site interesting. Our photo and video galleries still get decent play in the Editor's Picks area, intermingled with other stories the online content team thinks you might find interesting. Plus, the big brown tabbed area appears in the right rail, with relevant content based on what section you are looking at.

Oh - and have you seen the "Similar Stories" widget on our story pages? This is new, too - it automatically displays stories that are similar to the one you're reading (duh). It's a bit hit-and-miss as to how you define "similar", though - take the story on the exploding container in Morehead City for example. We'll work on that.

But most importantly: what do you think? Did we do a decent job this time around? Let us know here. Thanks.

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About the blogger

Charles Machalicky is the Interactive Operations Director for the News & Observer and the Charlotte Observer. He has wrangled the web development team (and pretty much every company project that has had an Internet component) at the N&O since 2004.