FT.com will tomorrow roll out the latest installment of its long-term web redesign with a pink front page and a region-specific homepage for its growing Middle East audience (preview here). Those are some of the immediate changes but, as a redesign, it’s more like a war of attrition: more changes are on the way but the whole process won’t be over for some months. In an interview with paidContent:UK, FT.com editor James Montgomery spoke of his long-term goals and why there’s no money to be made in attracting casual users.
Since going over to a part-paid subscription model back in September 2008, allowing readers to see up to 30 stories for just under £100, the site has steadily grown a regular audience of 800,000 registered users and around 100,000 paying subscribers, with a marked uplift since the banks around the world began to stare extinction in the face. FT.com doesn’t release user data for its casual audience gained through general browsing and search, but it’s bound to less then it was a month ago when the free story threshold was higher. But, as these people don’t offer anything in monetary terms, the paper itself isn’t too concerned.
— Redesign brand ID: Only the site’s homepages are getting the pink treatment for now, but the rest of the site will follow. And it’s not just aesthetic, it’s all about the brand: the fonts, design stylebook and colour palette are all borrowed straight from the newspaper. “We think the Financial Times is a very strong brand and we want the website to have that core brand identity, not be some separate distant thing that it has been in the past,” says Montgomery.
— From ‘FT.com’ to ‘Financial Times’: There is also a conscious move away from calling the site “FT.com”: now the front page will be clearly labeled ‘Financial Times’. That’s designed to tell traditional readers