Thanks for the substantial amount and useful feedback — both positive and negative — about the new MSN UK home page which we launched on Tuesday. See my original post.
I’d like to answer some of your questions and give some more background.
Why is it wider?
Our analysis of the MSN readership shows a tiny percentage of you now have low resolution monitors, giving us an opportunity to offer more "above the fold" real estate on most screens to present more of the news and features we think you’ll like and put useful tools at your fingertips.
What’s with the maps and email and stuff on the right hand column?
We know you love and need your Hotmail and Messenger. We hope we have given you easier access to those vital services and offered more from the Windows Live Services range — like the amazing Live Maps, the Spaces blogging tool, and the remarkable Skydrive free internet storage service. Try them.
In the next few days and weeks, more services and features will come to that column — news headlines, RSS feeds, and more tools to personalize the look and feel of the site with colour.
How does the Sign In work?
If you have a Live services account — for Hotmail or one of our other services — you will either be invited to put in the username and password, or your computer will already have it stored. That will take you to your Hotmail or other Live service and also offer personalized parts of the home page, like weather. If you don’t have a Live account go to Sign In and learn about the great tools we have.
What’s with the new navigation bar?
We have analysed how most users engage with the site and find the content they want. The new navigation puts the most popular sections — News, Entertainment and Cars, for example — in a more logical place. We hope you will use the navigation to explore more of what’s on the site.
What’s the new panel with three photographs across the page?
The new features carousel allows our editors to offer more of their selections "above the fold" — in the top half of your screen — giving you clearer pathways to news and features which might not previously have caught your eye. We have some improvements to the carousel coming this week.
Why have the directory at the bottom of the page?
We’ve found that many readers just want easy access to a simple guide of the inner parts of the site which aren’t always as easy to find as they should be: things like the currency calculator, our amazing video service, or the range of blogs from our editors. So far it is getting a lot of traffic.
Why should I make MSN UK my home page?
We believe the new home page gives you the "programmed experience" of a news and features page chosen by editors from the best content on the Web, combined with your most important internet and communications tools like Hotmail and Messenger — plus the powerful Live Search. The whole package is much more than a bland search defined by algorithms. There are real people working for you.
We value your feedback on the page and any other aspect of MSN UK. We will constantly add new features, improve old ones, and work to improve your experience of our services.
Executive Producer, MSN UK