Netscape Breaks Away from the

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Netscape Breaks Away from the Pack
"By breaking away from the Yahoo look and feel, Netscape not only stands out from competing portals, but it has enhanced usability by elevating the importance of design and using it to present a clear view of Netscape’s (and AOL-Time Warner’s) new world order."
Yes, but. Click on the more netbusiness link, you’re taken to a personalization page that asks for a zip code. In other words, the main portal leads to US-only section that doesn’t even hint of international content. You have to backpedal to the main page and find country sites at its bottom.
Now click on any country, you’re being presented the same generic international page. An unnecessary step since you already selected a specific country. From here pick up, say, Netscape France, you’ll see it still dons the old clothes. (As a side note, the site announces Navigator 6.0 and promotes Communicator 4.75 at the same time. Oh yeah, one is the browser and the other is the full suite, but is that making any sense for the average user?)
The new Netscape home page might be well laid out, but its information architecture completely fails to serve worldwide users. It’s even worse if you navigate from the US site to its international counterparts, since this will take you back in time as well. Compare this with Yahoo’s consistent design across all countries, and clever promotion of local content on the US site.
Another issue with this redesign is the inconsistency between the home page and the pages within the site. Pick Fun for instance, the navigation/branding and bottom zones are different, the yellow color has disappeared, and the layout is centered while the previous page is aligned on the left. Did I leave to another site? I’m not saying the home page can’t be different (obviously on most sites it is and for good reasons), but I would advocate some sort of consistency to let people know they’re still within the same "place" (the help link for instance shouldn’t move.) Some of the pages inside the site hardly even hint of where you are.

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