Since we re-launched Netscape, one of our constant struggles has been to make the homepage one of the best experiences it can be for a social news website. Initially, the homepage was dominated by stories from the Technology and Gadget channels, as early adopters of the site were either technophiles and/or people who were used to Digg and who came over to either kick the tires or try to in some way sabotage or break what they (incorrectly, I think) saw as a site trying to become another Digg. We began trying to grow other channels like News and Politics, and we succeeded in getting members involved in those Channels, but, as a result, the site has become overly focused on Politics and partisan disagreements propel most hot point political stories to the top of the pile and crowd out a lot of other interesting stories from other topic areas.
Our goal has always been to provide a new experience. To build a social news site on top of a portal experience with an editorial layer providing original content and follow up metajournalism in the form of Anchor Commentary. We want Netscape to become the best marriage between what new media, citizens media, traditional journalism, television news, and blogging has to offer. We want it to be an evolution of news and an evolution of the portal. Evolution takes time.
With that in mind, we've come up with a few alternate views of the Netscape Homepage that we'd like you to consider:
- http://www.netscape.com/hometest/ This first variant of the homepage checks to see what are the top 10 Channels at any given time, and then it pulls the top 3 stories from each of the top 5 channels and the top 2 stories from each of the next 5 channels and ranks these stories on the Homepage. As a result, no single channel will ever have more than 3 stories on the homepage, but only the top 10 channels will ever appear in the rankings.
- http://www.netscape.com/hometest1/ This second variant of the homepage checks to see what are the top 25 Channels at any given time, and then it displays the top story from each of those channels and ranks them.
We think both these variant homepages give more balance to the site as a whole, provide a wider variety of information, help people who have less interest in Politics a chance to have their stories rise to the top, and encourage everyone to check out the individual channels, rather than always living on the homepage. What do you think? Would you prefer one of these views over the current homepage? Do you have an idea for another way we could display the homepage?
We'll take whatever you say into consideration and if we change to one of these views, we'll announce it beforehand and keep the previous view around as an alternate.