Dictionary.com CSS Makeover

Lexico Publishing Group have just released their new web site design which has been deployed over all of their reference.com domains, most notably dictionary.com and thesaurus.com.

The news that the sites were being redesigned was first broken by Jeffery Zeldman, one of the most influential people in pushing the semantic web and standards based design forward. Lexico contracted the Zeldman owned company Happy Cog Studios to work on the redesign. I think it is fitting that a high profile semantic web fanatic be involved with the redevelopment of a dictionary, thesaurus and encyclopedia.

This is my very brief critique of the new site:

  • I really like the new colour
  • I like the simple, now classic tabbed navigation between dictionary, thesaurus and reference dot com sites
  • Though not surprising, I like the fact that the new design contains less than 50% of the HTML of the previous design
  • I hate the massive horizontal banner on the front page, it just breaks the look of the site.
  • The front page feels cluttered and hard to read because of the multiple sets of small lists of links
  • I don’t like the use of the little images in the lists of links on the front page. I think they should have signified the important link through the link text weight or by changing the bullet point image.

Other than, what I’d personally consider a poor choice for positioning their primary advertising – I’m pretty happy with the new design. I’m sure that the people maintaining the site are going to be much happier they’ve now got a simple set of CSS to manage instead of embedded markup.