X-ville shrinks in big Xtra redesign

Xtra's long-awaited redesign debuts today, reorientating its site structure around a TV channel concept and adding new content and advertising opportunities. In what looks like a compromise between the design and marketing departments, the huge 'X-ville' front page graphic under which the site has laboured since its launch has not been completely ditched, just shrunk and surrounded by links and buttons to other parts of the site. The new page still cannot tell the user what's new, but it is a huge improvement.

Xtra's long-awaited redesign debuts today, reorientating its site structure around a TV channel concept and adding new content and advertising opportunities.

In what looks like a compromise between the design and marketing departments, the huge "X-ville" front page graphic under which the site has laboured since its launch has not been completely ditched, but shrunk and surrounded by links and buttons to other parts of the site. The new page still cannot tell the user what's new, but it is a huge improvement.

Apart from the main graphic (the work of out-of-favour Telecom subsidiary DVP) the page, like the rest of the resdesign, is the work of Xtra staff. General manager Bob Smith saysthe front page was one change which came from the customers.

"Customer feedback has played a role in the new look," says Smith. "We receive good ideas from XTRA customers and we've taken some of these on board. For instance, our customers have asked for the front page to be more functional, allowing better access to valuable and interesting content within the site and we have achieved that.

Where the redesign really kicks in is in the 12 new "channels" each with its own design identity and branding; from the sharp, modern graphics of the youth-angled Xtreme to the conventional, magazine-like look of Living. Other channels include Business Today, News Today, Excess (Sport) and Entertainment.

As well as allowing strikingly different atmospheres to co-exist within the larger site, the new structure also opens up more advertising real estate, including sponsorship of the channels themselves.

Xtra is at http://www.xtra.co.nz.

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