SINGAPORE - Readers have welcomed the new look and features of The Straits Times' digital platforms.
The changes on the website and apps were unveiled on Wednesday, along with a redesigned version of the newspaper.
The major revamp across platforms is to celebrate the 170th anniversary of the newspaper, which published its first issue on July 15, 1845.
The digital products now boast a clean, breezy, modern and modular look. Content is organised according to "blocks", and the best stories across topics in these blocks are highlighted.
Facebook user Tan Kok Tim described the site as "bright and cheerful", while Mary Adele Ng said it now has a "calm and clear look".
Others described the new site as "fresh" and "impressive".
Assistant restaurant manager Muhammad Zulkefly, 26, who usually reads his news on the go, appreciated that the site is now mobile-friendly. "The words fit nicely and it's reader- friendly. In the previous site, we had to zoom in and out to read," he said. He also liked the new font used, and felt that the interface is smooth.
The platforms' clean concept is what caught the eye of another reader, Kathiyayini Vijaya Kumaran. The 25-year-old student said: "It looks neat and clean with the "boxes concept". I also like that the the header colour changes when you switch from section to section."
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information lecturer Wong Pei Wen said the interface is more stable now without the unresponsive script issue that plagued the earlier interface. Mrs Wong, who teaches public relations and digital and social media campaign courses added that the site is easier to navigate.
Mr Wong Voal Voal, managing partner of communications agency IN.FOM, echoed these sentiments. He added that changing to a mobile-friendly site was "really needed" as many people access news through their mobile phones and Twitter and Facebook feeds.
He also said that ST Now, a new live breaking news blogging section on the site, is important in this digital age, as news has to be immediate.
"It take a little bit of getting used to, for someone who has been reading ST all my life. By and large, it's a technology-driven change, a very good revamp," he said.
ST has also introduced a new payment system. From July 1, all stories featured on the website and apps, including those from the print ST, can be read in their entirety, up to a quota each month.
To celebrate SG50, readers can get 50 free stories for the month of July. Quotas after July will be announced later.
But only subscribers can get access to the PDFs of the print paper.
Readers are also free to share the stories on social media like Facebook and Twitter.
Another difference is that the website is now mobile-friendly. This means when readers go onto the website via the browser on their smartphone or tablet, the stories will fit nicely on the screen.
ST digital editor Eugene Leow noted that there are a few technical teething issues related to the new digital products. He apologised for the inconvenience caused and assured readers that they are being looked into and will be rectified as soon as possible.