Microsoft Redesigns MSN Portal For Multi-Platform Era
Microsoft has redesigned its portal site MSN to make it more cross-platform and ad friendly as well as more personalized. It’s a considerable improvement over the current site. Below is the new MSN preview followed by the existing design. As one can see even from the screens above the new MSN features a cleaner, more […]
Microsoft has redesigned its portal site MSN to make it more cross-platform and ad friendly as well as more personalized. It’s a considerable improvement over the current site.
As one can see even from the screens above the new MSN features a cleaner, more readable design. It also involves more scrolling, which is common now from a design standpoint.
There will be native apps, which will presumably be available across mobile operating systems. I looked at the HTML5 version this morning. It was very easy to use in my quick tests via a the Chrome browser on Android.
Sections and content can be added or subtracted and moved up or down the page without signing in. If users do sign in (and use many Microsoft services) it becomes a kind of productivity dashboard too, with access to email, cloud storage, Skype and office documents.
Microsoft is also highlighting content partnerships with “premium publishers” such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, CNN, AOL and Condé Nast.
Another motivation for the redesign is cross-platform advertising and analytics. As presented on its Advertising blog announcing the redesign, here’s Microsoft’s pitch to advertisers:
For brands, this means unprecedented access to a loyal audience on a single, personalized, premium platform that combines the massive reach of the web with the deep engagement of applications across all mobile operating systems.
It’s not entirely clear how the company will track users across screens if they don’t sign in. Probabilistic cross-screen targeting approaches (e.g., Drawbrid.ge) generally find “lookalike” audiences rather than the same users. But if there are sufficient incentives to sign in then the company and its advertisers will be able to follow users from PC to mobile and back.
The company said in its post that MSN currently reaches “437 million people across 50 countries.”
Postscript: The Next Web is reporting that in conjunction with the new MSN rollout that the Bing mobile apps will be rebranded MSN:
To reflect the magnitude of the changes and bring the branding in line, Microsoft’s Bing mobile apps for iOS and Android will be revamped and rebranded ‘MSN’ over the coming months.
If it’s correct, this move is totally amazing and represents a pendulum swing for the company. Several years ago the MSN brand was almost extinguished in favor of Bing. Now it appears that the Bing brand is being diluted in favor of MSN.
I’m sure there has been focus-group testing and lots of internal discussion about this but it’s very strange given the historical relationship between the Bing and MSN brands. It’s not unlike doctors recommending a low-fat diet and then, a couple of years later, reversing themselves, asserting that low-carbs, higher fat is better.