Aardvark Daily
New Look Xtra, first thoughts
Copyright © 1997 to Bruce Simpson
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2 Sept 1997

I suspect that the first thing people will do when looking at the new Xtra Site will be to compare it with the ClearNet Site.

Those who have visited Xtra's "facelift" site will be aware that the difference is as clear as night and day. ClearNet's site is predominantly "white" with masses of links - Xtra's site is like a voice from "the dark side" with extensive use of dark and different coloured backgrounds.

Rather than build yet another link-site, Xtra have, over the past year, recruited a lot of local content. Visitors to the Xtra site will find themselves spending a lot more time within the xtra.co.nz domain - which is obviously the goal they had in mind when building the site. So long as Net users remain within the Xtra site they are live targets for the increasing amount of banner advertising that's starting to appear there.

Is the new site good or bad?

It's impossible to make such a judgment on a purely aesthetic level, one man's meat is another man's poison and you can't please all the people all the time. Certainly Xtra's Web designers have taken some bold risks in trying out new ideas and pushing the envelope of "accepted" technique - but that's a good thing, the last thing we need is yet another site with a coloured stripe down the left and a white background - as seems to be the standard of the day.

Points to Xtra for retaining the TextWorld interface for old fogies such as myself who prefer to cut to the content rather than wait for the pretty graphics to load.

Unlike the first launch of the Xtra site, there don't seem to be very many rough edges or broken bits at all this time around - but I'll be giving the site some closer scrutiny during the week and reporting in-depth in next week's Aardvark Weekly. In the meantime, take a look for yourself so that you can respond to next week's Aardvark Survey when you'll get the chance to air your own opinion.

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