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Microsoft Network (MSN) is launching an update of its Portal site, msn.co.uk 1.6. The changes to the site, designed to make it easier to navigate, have been based on feedback from users in the UK. The new version will be launched 16 September. The feedback came in the form of emails from users and research using focus groups. The two main finding were that users wanted more personalisation, and faster, simpler navigation. The updated version has a more magazine like layout. Information is found in larger, chunked categories: Football, Entertainment, News, Business, Chat and Computing. Users can also add any piece of information on the site to their own home page. According to MSN UK, the Internet is changing, becoming more commercial and more functional. Judy Gibbons, director of MSN in the UK, said that portal sites are representative of that change. "It is therefore vital for Microsoft to establish a presence in the field, right from the word go," she said. MSN has over 100 partners providing information to the site. partners have reported increased hits to their own sites since signing up. PC Pro said that hits had jumped to four or five times the previous level. Currently most of these relationships are not fee based, but MSN said that the site had potential for distribution revenue as the Web matured. The current site recorded 560,000 unique visitors in August and about 17 million page views. This is the Private Eye site. ®

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