Wanna skip right to what’s new? Click here. Wanna learn why we did it? Keep reading.
Always Pioneering. That’s what we’re calling our new blog about innovations and changes at the Deseret News. “Is that just a fun play on words, or does it mean something?” you may ask. I’ll let you be the judge as you check back (hopefully) over the coming weeks, months and years, but for me it’s pretty simple.
It means never stop innovating. At the Deseret News, we no longer see ourselves as the “small weekly sheet” our founders described in 1850, but a worldwide news source for people seeking a voice of reason and values that rises above the cacophony of the media today.
Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” So, while this isn’t the first step, my first post on Always Pioneering is to inform you that we’ve taken a very significant one toward our goals.
Today we launch the third, and most ambitious, version of DeseretNews.com. This is more than just a facelift. It’s a total refactoring of our website and how we tell news stories. This is the foundation on which we plan to build.
Like all beginnings, this one’s not the end. That is to say it’s a work in progress. I remember how my first iPhone didn’t provide the ability to cut and paste text. Crazy, right? Especially for a company trying to disrupt the old PDA paradigm. Of course Apple soon released a new version of iOS and all was well.
Don’t be surprised if you experience something similar with this newest iteration of DeseretNews.com. Being the foundation means it purposefully leaves room for more — more new stuff and, in some cases, like Apple, more old stuff that needs to be built onto this framework.
A word about a word: ‘beta’
You will notice the word “beta” on the new site. This word simply means it’s not a finished product. We’re still adding to it, testing it, changing and improving it. That’s why we’re leaving the old site up and running for the next few weeks, so you can toggle back and forth between the two.
We did this in case we haven’t moved something you love to the new site yet and because we want you to have something to compare it to. Yes, we want your feedback. If you’ve got some, (and I’m sure you do!) click here.
Once you’ve selected one version, it’ll be your preferred one unless you change it, access it from a different computer or device, or delete your browser cache.
What’s so special about this new site?
A new platform — Without getting too technical, DeseretNews.com uses a number of innovative technologies (some borrowed, some built by our crack team of developers) that allow us to easily and quickly tweak and even outright change to meet readers’ needs and to bring innovative ideas to our readers faster than ever before. While bits and bytes aren’t exactly thrilling, you may find the following changes pretty exciting.
A new search — We admit it, our old search was terrible. That’s why we felt that if we were going to replace it, it had to be amazing. And it is. Fast, reliable, easy to use and most importantly, you’ll find what you’re looking for. Search for article titles, search for reporter names, search for text within the article.
Elegant design — Simple, beautiful and intuitive. These were the three words we used to define how our design had to be. And we did it. Tons more white space, simpler navigation, large bold images and the use of large serif fonts for easier reading, not to mention a touch of color — and class — which brings to mind our recent newspaper redesign.
A better reading experience – The story pages now use a much larger serif font in more reader-friendly columns, and the rest of the story information is better organized.
Multi-media friendly – The new DeseretNews.com was built to showcase video, higher resolution photos, interactive graphs, maps, illustrations and more. You’ll notice this first in the story pages where videos and images can be pulled into the context of the story as readers desire.
Simpler navigation – Our old site had 13 top-level navigation buttons. The new one has six — without losing any of the content. Now the news is more organized, intuitive and easier to find what you’re looking for.
You might wonder where Utah is. It’s under News, along side World & Nation, providing a more intuitive way to find what you’re looking for in as few clicks as possible.
Entertainment content is found under Family Life.
Featured voices – The Deseret News has some of the most unique and trusted voices in the news today. You’ll find them more prominently featured on the home page, so you don’t miss any of your favorites.
Story queues – While the home page is still a place to find the most important stories of the day, each section now offers a unique queue of stories showing the most recent at the top so you can quickly scan it to find what’s new.
Better login and account management – We’ve consolidated these screens, so it’s much more intuitive and easy to not only set up an account but manage it.
Obituaries – Obituaries are still easy to find, but they’ve been moved. They’re still accessible from the home page, but we included them with other featured content in the sub-navigation bar below the main section links.
Marketplace – We have partnered with KSL.com to bring the power of their award winning classifieds, real estate, cars and jobs offerings to our readers. We’ve featured them prominently in the main navigation bar for easy access.
Blogs – We are fortunate to have some incredible bloggers on DeseretNews.com like Brad Rock, Carmen Rasmussen, and Linda and Richard Eyre. In the past our blogs were tough to find and didn’t do our great bloggers justice. So we’ve totally revamped them so that they’re easier to find, easier for our bloggers to maintain and more intuitively integrated with the rest of our site. Some blogs like The Mort Report or Mormons in Sports have been moved to the news platform while the others are still in process. We can’t wait for everything to get moved over – we think you’ll love the change – and don’t be surprised to find some amazing new bloggers added to the mix in the coming weeks and months.
Topics – News “Buckets” that group topical stories for promotion on the site like the one for LDS General Conference and Letters to the Editor, have been replaced by “Topics” which, for now, are only accessible via the Topics link on the home page but will be more integrated into articles and sections in the future.
Top Lists – Our readers love these lists so we made them more prominent and gave them even more room for better storytelling. You can now find them in the sub-nav on the home page next to our other compelling featured content.
Mobile – One in 10 readers of DeseretNews.com come to us on a mobile device every day. To make sure the mobile reading experience is the best it can be we’ve developed a mobile version of our site that is automatically triggered when we recognize that you’re accessing the site on a mobile browser. Additionally, we’ve built a pretty slick app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. And for those of you that use news reader apps like Flipboard, Zite or even Google, we offer a wide range of RSS feeds that you can tap into to fill them up with great stories.
Has everything been moved to the new site?
No. But this shouldn’t be the case for long. Here are some things we’re still working on:
- Obituaries – You’ll still be able to access Obituaries but the header will be our old one as we’re still working on applying the new look.
- Scores and Stats (in Sports) – Also applying the new look.
- Marketplace – Also applying the new look.
- Sports Contests – Grid Picks and other sports contests are not yet available on the new site.
- High School Stats – We’re sure you’re going to love the new layout of the sports stats in our High School section but a couple of items are still in progress, including school specific photo galleries and state leaders.
- Blogs – We’re still working to move some of our older blogs over to the new platform.
- Photo Purchasing – We’re totally revamping our photo purchasing capabilities. At this point, photos cannot be purchased from Deseret News online.
- Cartoons – You won’t see any cartoons in the opinion section at this time. Patience, they’re coming.
You may also notice for a while that some links on the new site take you back to the old site; this should be temporary but will occur until we have moved everything over to the new site. We anticipate this being sometime around the end of the year or first part of next year.
This has been a labor of love and everyone at the Deseret News is excited to show it off. We hope you like it and that if you have any feedback at all, you’ll let us know. In the coming weeks and months you will see continued change – continued innovation. The Deseret News is evolving into a place for readers to discover and exchange news and ideas. A place for people to make a connection and a contribution. A place where better storytelling urges more informed conversations and action. A place where our readers know that we’re always pioneering.