MSNBC using docked navigation widget for multi-faceted storytelling

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MSNBC.com’s Elkhart Project series, which is following the Indiana town as it struggles with the recession.

On the inside story pages of the site, MSNBC has started placing a navigation widget that allows users to jump between the text, photo and video elements that make up the story.

More details and another view of the widget after the jump.

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Close up view of widget

The widget only appears at certain times when scrolling up and down the page, meaning its own of the way when it’s not needed. One can also hide the box or anchor it to the top of the page rather than the default bottom location.

This multi-faceted storytelling approach is similar to that CNN.com introduced with its last redesign.

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CNN.com's multi-element navigation

It’s also interesting to note the pages have a different header than that found on most pages. Instead of the large logo and show navigation links, there are links to “Sites & Shows,” “Categories” and “Topics” with flyout menus to dig down deeper. Under the search box is a list of “hot topics” and a condensed, drop down menu for MSN properties resides to the far right.

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The modified header

One has to wonder if this may be the testing grounds for a new MSNBC.com layout or if it’s a special-section only layout.

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