Interface design - - part fail!
Usual disclaimer... all IMHO etc....
#1. The new Beeb site design:
Shame there isn't a "part fail" tag for the Beeb's re-design. I like the way they have moved the masthead, menus etc to the top (I'm viewing on a 15" laptop screen), but if I had a cellphone or a Netbook size screen, I'd probably be ticked off at having to scroll down (perhaps a couple of times?) before I actually get to read anything of value (news!!!!!) to me....
The main content area does not have enough contrast between the background, text and border area .... actually IS there even a border area or is it just the same color as the main background?
El-Reg has two gray/blue bars down each side (helps to keep eyes on the main part of the screen) and uses lines and spaces between entries very well. This all helps to keep your eyes working in a natural (easy to use) way. Shame the Beeb ignored this need.
The "new" site design is very "2003", when most people were moving towards using larger screens and could accommodate the "longer/taller" design as all the "widgets" like maps etc are now further down the screen, rather than in side bars than in the older more 3 column oriented design. Now in 2010, while it's not perfect - and did need work - I think the design they just moved away from is possibly better suited to an era where more and more smaller/mobile devices are in use.
They once billed me for a product I never purchased, and were terrible to deal with trying to get the issue sorted out. I have been very cautious about anything that comes from them ever since and this kind of false alarm should have been identified before they released the update. It's almost like the Russians were trying to punish the west in a very cold war manner... oh wait! We just did a very "cold-war" spy swap... Nah... couldn't be, could it?