AOL's redesigned page is set up for multiple visits throughout the day, featuring the most important stories in the morning, breaking news updates in the daytime and a wrap of the day's news in the evening. There's more local content. AOL's Regina Lewis says video is now front and center.
"Video on the web, when it was put front and center above the fold, if you will — meaning when you log on you don't have to scroll down to see it — that the viewership, depending on the video, increased anywhere from three to ten times. And there's something called, now, 'made for web' video, so it's not just the user-generated funny cat videos anymore. It's not just re-purposing television. There are videos that are specifically produced for the web, and that's what you'll see in that modular player, if you will."
The front page makes greater use of white space, and ads are no longer so "boxed in." Instead of seeing multiple advertisers, only one display ad will appear on the home page. Lewis says the overhaul is designed for home PCs, laptops and mobile devices.
"The page is optimized for smart phones and that renders differently on your smart phone — a different version for the web just because of the screen size, and in technology terms, it's called 'right-sizing.' It's almost like the front page of a major newspaper or the opening 30 minutes of a morning show. So if there is a story that is getting a lot of click-through, that may stay up longer. If there's something that's not, they can pull that down. And that happens dynamically, 24-7."
America Online blames its shrinking dial-up internet access business, which it's been phasing out, for an erosion of visitors. AOL was spun off from Time Warner last year to become an independent company.