Welcome To The New AOL


Last night, Tim Armstrong and team celebrated independence from Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange with P. Diddy and this morning they’ll make it official by ringing the bell in the same location. AOL (NYSE: AOL) is back as a ticker symbol and from here out, the excuses are gone for both companies. Gone, too, is the look of the old AOL — at least, some of it. While Armstrong and some others ended a long day with a group dinner, AOL Media President Bill Wilson went back to the office to work with his team on the transformation of AOL.com into a brighter, fresher space complete with the new branding campaign Armstrong previewed for us last month. (Slide show.)

The symbols, like the goldfish we’ve been featuring, are cues for themes (the favors for last night’s party were t-shirts with one of the new icons but no goldfish). Pick the vivid blue butterfly from the scroll bar across the top of the new front page and the nav bar text color and other elements change to match. Pick the goldfish, and the text changes to a different blue (the gold would be too hard to read) but the “purple paint” theme turns the nav text and other elements purple. I’m still not sure about the branding campaign itself but the isolated images and animation snippets we saw last month make more sense as themes and personalization choices and the look signifies a clear change.

That may be the most obvious change at first but the new look also comes with new content. Wilson tells me they’ve added original AOL video on AOL.com for the first time, with updates every few hours, and more original stories starting early this morning. More changes are coming over the next 10 days. Other sites in the AOL network are also getting “updated experiences,” according to Wilson, “including greater AOL attribution presence and consistency.”



As a graphic designer of over 30 yrs, I could not agree more with all the comments of disgust over this latest homepage theme effort….. also with commenter stating that changes leave us with no choice but to accept poor features without options. Clutter clutter clutter. All the animation and excess slow page loading and any actions made. Sometimes I can click two or three times in the scroll bar before the page moves. What’s all the junk at top about themes?! How about a simple single word THEMES which links to another page to select them? Not everyone is looking for theme changes blaring them in the face every sign in. No room to itemize other similar irritations here.


these new themes are really hidious….they r way to stark and brite. the nice soft hues..flowers…etc. were very pleasing …please change it back


I also am not happy with the new themes! I really loved the old ones!! I have recently changed to a different home page, because I can’t bring myself to give the new themes a chance. Please bring back the old themes!!! PLEASE!!

Deborah Suarez

I just want to thank the losers at AOL for helping make up my mind….I do not have to think twice
about changing my home page from AOL to some other browser. I agree with the others that say
thanks for letting us make the choice. You could have at least let us keep the other themes along with these new hideous ones. Was the designer hopped up on something when they did those. OMG!!!
How embarrasing for AOL…..


i am surprised to read the reactions of users out here…. i find no reason whatsoever to dislike the new design. it really looks neat and lively. nice design.




Aol SUCKS its like someone is inside my computer changing things I donnot want changed!!!!!!!! It makes A person want to smash their computer. Dennis


Why I Hate AOL:

Cause when it sold subscriptions…..the customer service rep put me through fckng hell to cancel the damn service.

Plus…its for adults that don;t understand the Internet. aka…retards & coma patients who awoke after 25 years.


Who knows? Maybe it will work. Broadcast networks are dead. Intellectual property is becoming worthless. Maybe a content aggregator (which AOL seems to want to be) has a chance in the future. Probably not, but crazier things have happened. Look at where old media is today. According to Kagan, less than 20% of Comcast’s purchase price for NBCU was for the NBC Network, Telemundo network and Universal Studios. That used to be all there was in a media company.


Dr. Steve

I sure hope someone tells them that this was the WORST possible design choice. As a huge fan of the previous themes, I cannot imagine who authorized this. It is ugly. It is appalling. Every choice is the same save for an ugly, half-hidden image in the top left.

It’s enough to get me to start looking for a new homepage. The worst part is the old themes aren’t even an OPTION! They just said “nuts to you” and started over. It’s bullshit. It’s no wonder why AOL has been on a downward spiral for the past decade – they can’t run a company.

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