The Boston Globe rolled out a handsome new website, and it's exemplary: No confusing mess of links, no upchuck of annoying ugly ads, and, best of all, no special crippled version for the iPhone or iPad.
Open the site on a regular computer and try slowly squeezing the browser window from full width down to a quarter or an eighth of your screen. The layout progressively and intelligently resizes itself, hiding section links, scaling photos, and resizing fonts. "Stunning," writes outspoken designer Jason Santa Maria. "Fascinating," writes Daring Fireball publisher John Gruber. "The design is uncluttered and reader-friendly. How many newspaper website designs can you say that about?" Not many.
Then again, most newspaper sites are free, and the Globe's elegance is a direct result of the fact that it will soon cost money to read, according to New York Times Company executives. In this case, perhaps. But the Globe is also responding, visually at least, to elegant-but-free sites from news providers like Google, Twitter and countless independent bloggers like Gruber, who makes some nice coin from his uncluttered Mac enthusiast site. Hopefully there's room for Globe, and its parent the NYT Co., to make its business model more innovative as well.