Whenever a major website is redesigned, users invariably fume that it doesn’t feel quite the same. So, is the revamped Twitter #good or #uglyashell? Well, were leaning towards #improvement. The desktop site now looks more like the mobile version, while the navigation bar on the left places important sections more easily to hand. Useful options are no longer hidden behind the Profile icon. although fans of Moments have to delve into the More menu. Instead, the Explore option, which combines hashtags, live video and trending stories, gains greater prominence. Switching profiles is easier too. Overall, it’s a worthwhile update.
Alertr is a new price-tracking website that lets you enter the URL of a product you find online so you can receive alerts when the price drops or reaches a level you’re happy to pay. In that sense it’s nothing new, but because the site lets you track items from more than 250 high-street and online retailers, including Argos, Currys and Boots, it’s proving hard to ignore. We love the prominent input bar and the ease with which you can manage items you’re tracking and place them in sharable collections. The site alerts you by email (although text messages would be handy too) and even recommends similar products you might consider, which is a nice touch.
3. Brent 2020
Brent is not only the home of Wembley Stadium. it’s also next year’s London Borough of Culture, and it’s certainly embracing the title. It has launched this colourful website to entice people to get involved and is teasing potential visitors with an early glimpse of the activities to come. Confusingly, these are listed by the date they were posted rather than when they’re due to take place, but with a full programme promised in the Autumn, a growing news section called Brent Stories and details of grants for local people, organizations and groups, there’s plenty here to keep you coming back.
4. Warner Classics
Fans of classical music are sure to be in tune with Warner’s relaunched Classics and Erato website. New releases and videos are easier to find. even though the site has dropped the news section. but aside from the new drop-down menu. the big difference is the addition of streaming. You can listen to 30-second clips from the company’s catalogue for free. and if you have an Apple Music or Deezer account. you can hear full recordings and curated playlists. Most songs are available via Spotify. too. although we found that not all artists made their music available in this way.
5. Footie Trader
Football fans are a nostalgic bunch, and what better way is there to relive the memories than to get hold of some vintage gear? This marketplace for memorabilia scores highly because it allows both buy-it-now and auction listings. With clear trading pages. PayPal payments and filters for condition. price range, year and brand, it’s a real winner. You can’t filter by club. which strikes us as odd, and the way it handles PayPal is a little clumsy. but listing items is easy. Only a handful of sellers are involved at the moment. but the site is sure to attract more supporters.
Emoji may be a modern form of communication, but until recently the website for Unicode – the not-for-profit organization that governs emoji standards – was stuck in the Nineties. Thankfully, this redesign deserves a big smiley face rather than a great pile of poop. As well as explaining what Unicode is about, showcasing a selection of characters and bringing the latest news, it explains how to submit your own emoji proposal. Click the emoji link on the front page to see the selection criteria and technical information. You can even adopt a Unicode character.
Not every ailment needs to be treated by a doctor, so if you’re anxious about waiting times, check out this service, which puts you in touch with a local pharmacy. By selecting one of 50 clinical services ranging from acne and migraine to vaccinations, you can search for a chemist, read what they can provide and use the contact details to phone for an appointment (online booking is said to be on its way). With 7.800 pharmacists. you’re sure to find one near you, but bear in mind that while the website is free to use, you will have to pay for treatment. Guidance prices are listed. and you can start a consultation online to save time.
8. Norwegian Holidays
Low-cost airline Norwegian has relaunched its package holidays division in conjunction with TripX. making a few tweaks to its website. Now you can specify how many rooms you need and the number of people travelling when making your initial search. The site highlights holidays that may be of interest, complete with a suggested hotel, price and rating, which is more useful than a basic list of destinations. You can even select a theme, such as adult-only and all-inclusive. We particularly like the ‘Travel tips’ section, which suggests cheap deals based on your chosen month and length of stay.
The motoring website Evo is working on a fresh new look, but visitors can take a sneak peek before the official launch. This means you can expect some teething problems, such as broken links and pages that are stuck firmly in the slow lane, but its heading in the right direction. The homepage has more room for manoeuvre, with greater use of white space, clearer signposting of articles and less clutter. The sections are also better defined. The ability to find car reviews by make and model is great, and the option to sign up for an email newsletter is more prominent. You can leave feedback in an unintrusive pop-up window.
10. Radisson Hotels
Radisson has created a new online hub that covers all seven of its hotel brands. Enter a destination and dates, and the search engine immediately shows you a list of hotels in a drop-down menu before you’ve even clicked Search. The drop-down also lets you select hotels for specific airports and points of interest, with information on how far away they are. You can filter all the results, and entries include clear pricing, with the different brands displayed alongside a TripAdvisor rating and brief description. There’s also a massive selection of deals, which the site helps you navigate by asking questions about the kind of trip you’re after so you can find the right one.
11. The Classic Watch Buyers Club
For some of us. the term ‘classic watch’ means an old digital Casio from the 1980s. but here you’ll find high-end timepieces from the likes of Rolex. Omega and Cartier that sell for hundreds if not thousands of pounds. With that in mind, we feel the site could present them better. The descriptions are inconsistent. and some images are badly shot. Those selling or trading a watch could be better served, too – both pages are identical and lack useful information. Spending more time on the site’s design would reap rewards.
12. YouGov Ratings
Who is the UK’s favourite politician? Which model of phone do we love most? And what’s our preferred social network? With YouGov’s Ratings site. you can discover the answers to these questions and many more based on millions of responses from the British public. Select a category from options such as politics, entertainment, food. sport and technology to see instantly how popular someone or something is. across dozens of sub-categories. You can also sort by fame, to see what the YouGov community has most “heard of”. Clicking an entry provides data about the age. gender and other ‘likes’ of the people who voted for it. and since the information is collected daily. Ratings is sure to be a site you’ll return to regularly.
Whether you need a window cleaner. want to offload an old sofa or just fancy a gossip with your neighbors, this private social network connects you with people in your area, so you can request and share local information and advice, and advertise products and services, without having to speak to anyone face-to-face. Nextdoor’s Facebook-style interface makes it easy to use, and there are three ways to verify your account: postcard, phone call or by granting access to your current location. Community moderators keep conversations clean, focused and spam-free, although just as in a real neighborhood. you’re bound to get the occasional grump!
Finding interesting online articles that aren’t driven by clickbait, advertising or news agendas is increasingly tricky, which makes Medium a breath of fresh air. This writing community for “people who have thoughtful things to say” publishes articles and opinion pieces on virtually any topic you can think of. which are reviewed by curators to ensure they meet Medium’s editorial standards. Although content from some of the most popular authors and publications is locked behind a $5-a-month (£4) paywall, there’s still plenty of great stuff you can read for free, and registering with the site lets you personalize your Medium homepage, follow specific writers and topics, and even publish and earn money from your own stories.
Cookpad is a tasty mix of Pinterest and BBC Food, giving foodies a place to share recipes, tips and photos. The site is based in Japan. but has offices around the world, and currently offers more than five million recipes (around 5.000 of which are from the UK) and attracts 100 million users. You can search the site by ingredient, meal type and cuisine to find a suitable dish: bookmark and print recipes with a single click: and post your own ideas for others to try. Users can post their experiences with each others’ recipes, including photographic evidence, and Cookpad lets you track the number of times your recipes have been ‘liked’, saved and printed and by other people. There are also free apps for Android and iOS.
If you like the idea of social media but baulk at the privacy issues involved, you’ll be reassured that MeWe is built on “trust. control and love” rather than targeted ads and data harvesting. It’s a lively, privacy-respecting place to connect with and make new friends. You can join open groups that span categories as diverse as Animals & Pets. Cyber Safety and Sustainability. or create your own. and use familiar features such as emoji reactions, but without the annoyance of ads. MeWe counts Sir Tim Berners-Lee among its board members and says it expects up to 100 million new members this year, so now’s the perfect time to join.
Lego’s two distinct websites – for retail and for content – have been combined into one. The landing page now offers shopping and support on the left-hand side, and fun brick-related content on the right. Browsing products lets you check out the many Lego themes, the newest ones clearly highlighted, and jump to a specific interest – such as coding, robots or STEM – along with promotions and exclusives. The content side is, as before, brimming with info about the sets, and lets you enjoy videos, games and characters. It’s also easier to find a physical store, join the points-earning VIP scheme and find spare Lego parts.
18. Daily Star
Put the Daily Star’s new-look website next to that of The Mirror and you’d think one is a reflection of the other – both use the exact same template and, if it wasn’t for the variation in news agenda (the Star’s menu swaps politics for showbiz), you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference. In many ways, the revamp has reined in the Star’s in-your-face personality and it’s now easier to find stories, thanks to a cleaner, responsive design and tags that let you jump straight to specific categories. The article pages, however, feel cluttered with images, ads and suggested stories that get in the way of the words. Also, videos auto-play and not all stories allow comments.