The Latest Changes to

by: David Jackson

Today we're launching some significant changes to the Seeking Alpha website. We've replaced the "hover over and drop down" navigation at the top of the page with clickable tabs. Those tabs link to dashboards that display all the new articles on the site in five intuitive groups, as well as clear navigation to the sub-topics in more depth. We've also added buttons for Breaking News (Wall Street Breakfast and Market Currents) and Transcripts (which houses our new, improved Transcript Center).

These changes were driven by one goal: to make it faster and easier to find articles on Seeking Alpha.

When I announced the last set of changes we made, we received a ton of valuable feedback. The clearest request from readers was to re-instate the page that shows all the latest articles on the site in reverse chronological order. So we've rebuilt that page, and provided a link to it on the home page ("See all of today's headlines") and in the Quick Links box ("Latest Articles") below the search box.

We've made some significant improvements to our news coverage. You can now view Market Currents, our real time market and news product, in two modes. The default mode shows the latest items at the top of the page; if you leave the page open, it automatically refreshes when new items are added. An alternative mode: to catch up on what's happened so far, you can switch the order so the earliest items are at the top, and that turns off auto-refresh. We've also grouped Market Currents with Wall Street Breakfast, our morning digest of top headlines. Now you can quickly check the top headlines, and then switch tabs to see what's happened since the market opened. (There's no Wall Street Breakfast today because the market is closed.)

We've made more incremental improvements to the Transcripts Center. Search is now easier than ever: you can quickly find transcripts, or search across all the transcripts for a single phrase. We've also made it easier to view the most popular transcripts. There's more to announce in the near future; we'll keep you posted.

We grappled with three questions about the new navigation changes, and would appreciate readers' input on them:

  • The Big Picture. We wanted to group together in one page all the latest articles about the overall stock market and its key drivers, including the economy, the price of oil and commodities, earnings, bonds, and the state of the housing and credit markets. The most intuitive title we could think of for this page is The Big Picture. But that has two disadvantages. First, Barry Ritholtz writes an excellent blog (highly recommended) with the same name, and we don't want to cause confusion. (Here's Google's listing of Big Picture websites for reference. Update: I just noticed that Roger Nusbaum, one of my favorite reads on ETFs, also uses "The Big Picture", and a reader comment below states the IBD has a column called "The Big Picture".) Second, we're unsure whether the name is informative enough. What do you think? Will we reduce traffic to Barry's blog (we don't want to do that)? Can you suggest a better name?

  • Fast navigation. In our old navigation scheme, you could find articles about China with a hover-over and a click. Now you need to click once (on Global Investing) to see the most recent articles about China, and click again if you want to see the full list of articles about China. To make it easy to find all the themes from the old drop downs, we've presented them in large type in the left-hand side bar of the new dashboards. But is the navigation clear enough?
  • Colors. Our choice of colors for the new tabs was driven by only one consideration: how to make them as easy as possible to use. White on orange was has good visibility, and we added two blue tabs for Breaking News and Transcripts because they're different in nature from the other articles on the site and we wanted to make it easy to find them. But let's admit it -- the colors are a break from our old color scheme, and don't fit that well. Any thoughts on the colors?

User testing and statistical analysis of the new scheme versus the old one suggests that it's a big improvement. But changes take getting used to, and we know that the intial reaction of some users will be frustration. We hope that as you try out the new tabs and dashboards, you'll find the site easier and more enjoyable to use.

Let us know what you think.


Update: Monday, September 8th, 7.30 am:

Thank you to all the readers who provided feedback and suggestions. Barry Ritholtz has asked us to change the name of "The Big Picture" tab. I emailed him yesterday as follows:

We're currently planning to change the tab names and sizes (requiring new graphics) in our next code release. Why? Because we constantly strive to provide the best possible experience for our readers, and also respect your wishes and goals... The change is slated for the near future (but not tomorrow). We invest careful preparation and testing in each new code release before upload, and do releases only over weekends when the market is closed and traffic is lower.

We're still debating which name to use in place of "The Big Picture". Any further ideas or feedback on the suggestions below would be welcome.