The Daily Mail are testing an update to their Comment UX.
It’s easy to ignore comments, and their usefulness, but take a look at a few of the Daily Mail’s articles, count up the number of comments & the number or ratings on those comments, make an estimate as to what percentage of people bother to rate comments, and it very quickly dawns on you that they make hundreds of thousands of pounds for the Daily Mail every year.
Here’s an example 24 hour snapshot of their comment ratings:
ie. They regularly get 2.5 million comment ratings in a day. Another way of looking at that: they’re close to a billion comment ratings per year. Therefore, whereas a change to comments style on most sites would be a trivial tweak, for the Daily Mail it can have a big effect.
Old vs New
Here’s the same set of comments in their old style & their new style (click for larger images if you like):
The main differences here are:
- Inclusion of headshots where available.
- They now split out ‘positive’ & ‘negative’ comments, rather than just showing the aggregate.
- The text is much larger.
- Username leads now, and is clickable through to user’s profile.
- Times are relative to the current time, rather than being timestamps.
The more prominent profile info, and the headshot are quite telling. I wonder if at some point they will do a bit more with profile pages themselves? There’s a big opportunity for newspaper sites to get ‘user generated’ news commentary right.
Extra Social Prompts:
Move the mouse over the comments & you get two new extras.
- Top right is a small down arrow that allows you to report abusive comments.
- Below the comment a block of prominent ‘share’ icons appear.
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The Daily Mail have an interesting issue in that their articles are hugely commented on, but surprisingly ‘undershared’. This may help address that a little.
The’ve also tacked a little call to action to visit their ‘stats’ page onto the end of comments:
If you’ve never visited their stats page before, it’s very much worth a look: http://dailymail.co.uk/stats. If you were a sensible competitor, you’d have been following their stats for the last few months and would be able to see whether this UX update has increased/decreased the likelihood of users leaving and rating comments.