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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

March 9, 2010 at 9:57 AM

UPDATED: New MSN homepage coming

Updated at 2:00 p.m.:

Scott Moore, the U.S. executive producer of MSN, talked about why MSN is redesigning its site and how the company hopes the new, cleaner Web site will help Microsoft generate search traffic and advertising sales.

“”The key goal of this redesign is to bring key features like better search from Bing; more local news and information; and social networking together with the content that we have traditionally published at MSN,” said Moore. “But all in a clean and clutter-free design.”

The new design will roll out in the U.S. over several weeks, he said. As of today, about 25 percent of U.S. users have automatically been switched over to the new site.

Since the preview came out in November, Moore said the MSN team has made subtle changes that have a significant impact on usage. For instance, adding the words “Web search” to the search button and a shadow around the box led to increased Bing usage, he said.

The site also identifies groups site visitors based on their content interests. For instance, a user who clicks on sports news links will get a version of MSN that displays sports news prominently. “If you happen to be a big consumer of sports and news, and I was an entertainment fanatic, your page would be tailored a little different than mine,” Moore said.

The goal is to increase traffic to increase ad sales and to drive usage of Microsoft’s search engine Bing.

Moore said moderate and light users of the MSN preview are doing more searches on the page than before, and traffic at a new local edition available to 44,000 Zip codes has been “encouraging.”

MSN gets 100 million visitors a month in the U.S. and 600 million visitors worldwide.

Earlier 9:57 a.m.:

Changes are coming to MSN in the next few weeks.

Microsoft’s content site has started rolling out its redesigned home page, which is cleaner than the previous one.

MSN began previewing the design in November at http://preview.msn.com. Microsoft says the site has 100 million customers, and back in November, the company said it was the biggest redesign the site has undergone in the past 10 years.

The new site focuses on the specific content areas of news, entertainment, sports, money and lifestyle. The home page also prominently features Microsoft’s search engine Bing.

Here is our story from November when the previews began.

Here is a screenshot of the new home page below:

msn screenshot.jpg

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