A month ago, Le Devoir launched a redesign of its website. It lasted only a few hours until, crippled by technical problems, it reverted back to its old design.
Now the newspaper has tried again, with the same design, but hopefully a more robust back end.
The look is a huge change from the previous design (you can see a gallery of previous designs at the end of this article explaining the new website). It looks a lot more professional, in both the good and bad ways. It’s slick, but it’s very busy. It has a lot of unnecessary text on homepages. Those homepages are also long:
Despite the visual changes, the essentials are the same. Le Devoir remains one of the few dailies in the country to restrict some content to paid subscribers. Uncoincidentally, it also features ads very prominently offering subscriptions.
Nicolas Ritoux has some details about the genesis of the new design, from this article published when they tried to launch it a month ago.
One thing I notice right off is that while they now have photo galleries, there is no way to link directly to a Garnotte cartoon (unless I link directly to the JPEG file). It’s a common problem with newspaper websites big and small.
I am so annoyed by Le Devoir’s policy, and their damned teasers for sub-only articles. Grrrr. Their site certainly did need an update though.
You must remember that Le Devoir only sells about 35,000 copies per day and at that rate – it is tougher to sustain a newspaper on advertising alone . Its main bag is Quebec nationalism – which the public in Quebec has gobbled up more frequently in the past (at least during election time)-but which is – becoming a harder sell with time.
What I find most amusing about Le Devoir is its cloaking of an obvious crude nationalism in a kind of fancy intellectual dress. At least Le Journal de Montreal has the balls to let it it all hang out….
If you don’t believe me – have a look at Lise Payette’s – shallow yet hypocritical piece on the ADQ recounting the roots of the party (from yesterdays edition)… I could not help thinking how appropriate such a title would be in looking at the roots of the Pequiste movement (and it must be said – the PQ itself).
An even more intellectually dishonest piece yesterday: “L’ethnologue Et La Nation” by Christian Rioux rationalizes xenophobia but in quite an original way – by using quotations from Claude Levy Strauss of all people (oh and out of context too I might add)…..
If it wasn’t so sad it would be very amusing…..
The only thing I appreciate on that front page is the picture of mayor Tremblay with Bergeron. A wind of change?