The design is a rather eccentric amalgamation of design approaches. The idea that delivery of the content is somewhat similar to how Quartz does it. The site’s navigation is seem to be centered around the ever-present scrolling selection of stories in a left hand site on larger desktop screens or an expandable menu with a tap on smaller mobile screen.
Like Quartz, when you reach the end of an article, you're automatically transitioned to the next article on the list. The idea here is probably to keep visitors engaged in order to reduce bounce rates. Time mentioned before that offering related stories isn’t always the best approach here. Instead, it seems like Time offers to new visitors of a story a selection of articles picked by the Times editors to be (what they think are) the most read/shared articles of the day/moment, top picks by the editor, and more in-depth columns, instead of offering articles of a related topic (e.g., you visit a health articles and see recommendations for other health/lifestyle related articles).
Lets take a moment to break down the homepage. It's main content divided into three columns:
- The latest stories on the left (with ads ins the style of newspaper columns)
- The most important stories in the middle
- The columns, videos, and magazine articles (which are behind a paywall) on the right
At first glance of the big red top navigation bar, you don't see the traditional approach of topical landing pages for each subject/sections, instead what's offer a merely streams of articles grouped by a topical subject that can be accessed by from the hamburger menu button, on the top right corner, which has been adopted in nearly every modern news site thus far.
The idea here is to offer readers 3 "lanes" of content:
- The left "fast" lane handles the new and popular trending articles
- The middle lane mores more of the top mainstream articles picked by Time editors as the 12 or so articles you should be reading about
- The right lane seem to offer the slowest, but deepest experiences for those that like to take their time and get to know the fine details of things.
One seemingly minor change to where the ad placement is a pretty significant change. It placing them in such a way with the articles makes them more prominent to the user. This type of approach isn't new by any means. The NYT had previously rolled out a native ad system previously in a similar way.
The idea Time seem to be after is a more native and responsive system that's easy so read not only social, mobile, and desktop users alike, but also offer visitors an experience tailored to their own reading preferences.