A new DeseretNews.com

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.

We've updated our site. See our new design on the right.

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.

Use this button at the top of the old website to access the new site.

You can use these buttons at the top of the new site to switch back to the old site and learn about the latest changes.

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.

Type in a topic or name in our new search tool and we'll automatically provide you with related articles.

After you enter your search term you will be taken to a page where you can sort through relevant articles.

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.

All of the information on our site is now organized in an elegant format.

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.

Articles on the new site feature a reader-friendly font and format.

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.

Our new article format give you easy access to related charts, graphics and videos.

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.

Our simpler navigation bar now contains six categories.

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.

Utah and World & Nation now appear in the News section of the site.

Entertainment content is found under Family Life.

You can find Entertainment content in the Family Life section.

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.

Find Featured Voices on the home page.

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.

Each section and subsection page features a queue of stories.

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.

Use our intuitive login form to set up and manage your account.

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.

Access obituaries from the home page.

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.

The Marketplace is featured prominently in the new design.

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.

Find links to the blogs in the navigation bar on the home page.

Visit the Blog Directory to find your favorite blogs.

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.

Find Topics in the navigation bar on the home page.

Click on the Topics link to find trending topics.

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.

Find Top Lists in the navigation bar on the home page.

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.

26 comments

  1. Aric

    The search page is indeed much improved, but the initial search results are still as hit-and-miss as ever. I expected, naively perhaps, that a search for “Novell” would produce, among the first three or four results, an article about the ongoing antitrust trial with Microsoft. Instead, bafflingly, the first page of results consists of years-old articles of marginal importance today (for example, why does the algorithm place so much weight on a two-paragraph article about two small scholarships awarded in 2004?).

    In fairness to the DN, my search was vague, but it was genuine–I didn’t set out to test your website, just to use it. When I performed the same search using Google, restricting results to Deseret News pages, the first several hits were recent stories on the antitrust trial, just as I would (did) expect.

    It’s clear the Deseret News has worked hard to give readers the tools they need to find the content they’re after (and I do thank you for that), but since the main tool claims to weigh relevance, it would be nice if it were a bit smarter.

    • Aric

      Lest my previous comment leave the wrong impression, let me say that the new design looks great and communicates information well. Kudos to everybody who contributed and best wishes to the Deseret News in the brave new world of 21st century journalism.

  2. Kevin Carter

    I think your new design is miles ahead of what came before. What took you so long? ;)

    I haven’t dug into the particulars but I did feel it necessary to comment on one thing that is glaring to me. Your right sidebar ads are ginormously HUUUUGE! It feels unbalanced and out of place. It ‘feels’ like half the site is ads and the other half is content. I know you need revenue to have a business blah blah blah, but geesh really? I think the ad size should be reduced by a third and maybe by half. They will still be very noticeable. I just really don’t like how they slap me in the face every time I open a page. It makes me have negative feelings. If I were an advertiser I don’t think that would be my desire is to have people that are annoyed seeing my ads. I guess I could be wrong, maybe positive or negative it doesn’t matter to them as long as people notice.
    Maybe you could do a page test and see if there is a noticeable click through rate difference between ads this size and a third to half smaller. That would be an interesting test to me.
    Anyway, that is my two cents.
    Keep on improving! I like where you’re going with this.
    Kevin Carter

  3. Chris Higbee

    Thanks for your comments Aric and Kevin. Aric, I just wanted to let you know that the issue you were seeing has to do with the fact that our search results are first sorted by relevance and not by date. So for a very generic search term such as “Novell” you could get a variety of results but if you sort by date, you’ll see the results come up at the top of te first page. Also if you search for “Novell, Microsoft” the results come up right at the top when sorted by date and they come up a few lines down when sorted by relevance.

    Kevin, I know the right rail may feel like we’re reserving it completely for ads and that they’re big – but actually they’re the same size and same number of ads as in our previous version of the site. That said, we’re adding a number of widgets to the site, many of which will go into the right rail, that will help to balance out the ad to news ratio in that rail.

    Again, thanks for your feedback and if you feel so inclined, from the home page, you’ll see a feedback tab where you can take our survey on the new site. We’d love any more detail you can offer.

    Chris

  4. Almost every time we visit deseretnews.com we click on the weather link at some point. We just want to see that KSL image showing the forecast. Can we get that back?

    The new site looks great. Much improved. Nice job

    • Logan Dunn

      @SP thanks for the tip. I will look into getting the weather information to link off to KSL for more information.

    • Emily Eyring

      Hi, Dale. The Obituaries link can be found in the second level of the navigation bar on the homepage, right below the “Sports” tab. If you are still having a hard time finding this, just let me know.

  5. Mari Ellingson

    I miss the free music download. It was, in fact, the only reason
    I came to your site. Once there, I enjoyed the articles occasionally.
    And, it was very profitable for the musicians, since it led me to
    purchase a CD here and there. Please consider re-adding this feature.
    Thanks

  6. Cliff R.

    I do not live in Salt Lake but come here daily to read the news of the area. I have two children and their families who live in the area, and I am LDS. I want to know what is going on at the heart of the church, what the local news is, and to see the weather report and forecast, as we visit often. I am not as interested in the Featured Voices and find it extremely odd to see them on the front page of this site. I do not want or really expect OPINIONS on this page. I would expect it on a second front page, but not the main opening one. I would say DUMP IT and move in more relevant topics. On this front page I want to be offered topics that I can chose to read or not. So cut so much space for these voices. One problem I have always had is trying to find a second topic from the headers. Where are movies located, under which header? Where do I find etc…… I think maybe you cut them down a few too many. ( Entertainment might cover movies, TV and restaurant reviews.) I don’t think Family Life is the right header for this, too vague.

    I like the fact that you are trying. I hope you will keep evolving and not stop for a while as you develop to an even greater level.

    • Logan Dunn

      @Cliff, thank you for the great feedback. We have heard similar thoughts about the “Featured Voices” on the homepage. We are working on coming up with an alternate home page layout that will improve the story visibility and not make the “Featured Voices” so featured.

      We are also working on improving story accessibility so our readers have less questions about where to find items. Please continue to provide feedback as we work through some of these “beta issues”.

  7. Ken Jennings

    The new site looks fine, but the design is no easier to use than the old one. My frustration is with the “defunctionalization” going on everywhere from major software companies to the most mundane of web sites. I imagine most people use the Deseret News primarily for local news. The UTAH menu used to have sub-emnu items for EDUCATION, SALT LAKE COUNTY, UTAH COUNTY, DAVIS COUNTY, POLICE/COURTS, CRIME REPORTS,POLITICS, LEGISLATURE, and a few others. This was how I found what I wanted. I simply can’t find it now and expect that I will probably turn to other sources — in which case I will probably cancel my paper subscription as well.

    • Chris Higbee

      Ken, thanks for your thoughtful response. Remember, we’re in Beta right now, meaning there are a lot of things that are still to come, including some navigation improvements and simplifications. For instance, we’re looking at two options for the type of local news you’re talking about. Sub-nav elements like we had in the old site and tags that would allow you to filter by tags to narrow down the news in potentially dozens of ways rather than the limited filter a navigation element provides. Changes like these take some time. I hope you’ll continue to give us a chance to work through these changes and will continue to provide quality feedback like this.

      Chris

  8. Paula

    Will you be supporting Web OS? I own a HP touchpad. While the home page of the beta version will load on the tablet, when I try to open a story the story momentarily appears but when the page finishes loading the screen goes blank. I figure this is just a glitch with the beta version but I thought you should be aware it is happening.

    • Emily Eyring

      Hi, Paula. Unfortunately, Web OS does not currently support the standard JavaScript that appears on our site and many other websites. We apologize for the inconvenience.

  9. Lynn Anderson

    I get really glitchy search results when trying to use the archives. We have loved using the archives to get to a specific date (usually a birthday)for student research. Is the ability to do that coming or am I just not seeing it? Thanks.

  10. Uneva Rickman

    When DN was delivered to my home in a paper format, years ago, I eagerly anticipated its weekly arrival, and quickly sat down to read it thoroughly, from the top of Page 1 to the bottom of the back page. I would occasionally clip various articles to save.

    DN has changed over the years, not for the better…unfortunately.

    It used to be totally Church-oriented, where I could expect to find page after page of uplifting commentaries from our Church leaders, spiritual stories snd news about relief, Church organizational growth and missionary functions, etc. worldwide. I loved it!

    Now it is much more like a regualar newspaper, with political notes and negative world news. It has become commercialized, losing the warmth that was there when it was strictly Church-oriented.

    Rather than desire to read it from cover-to-cover, as I once did, I seldom bother doing anything with it now, besides quickly brushing over the headlines.

    Having spent six long months arduously slaving over making it as it is today, with more “improvements” in the making, I don’t expect any future real improvements.

    I will fondly remember what DN used to be.

    Fortunately, I still have the “Ensign”, “New Era” and “Friend” to study monthly, from cover-to-cover. They, too, have changed over the years…but for the better.

    • Logan Dunn

      @Uneva, I am sorry to hear that you are dissatisfied with DeseretNews.com. While we still offer LDS coverage, we are trying to appeal to a broader audience by focusing on uplifting content that promotes faith and family values in general. We still offer the LDS Church News for more exclusive LDS coverage.

  11. Cliff Russell

    You asked for more feed back. I wrote earlier and have been using the new page for a while now. Here are a few more comments. I am reading less and less when I come to the site. I have limited time and I don’t want to have to spend time opening areas like Most popular, most commented,or Latest updates. I want to see them opened up and ready to read. You have all the space down the right side of the page and it would just seem logical to put something interesting there. Why don’t you do two sections side by side as I go down the page. Just seeing one under the other is not good for quick reading. Like I said i want to see it all in an orderly manner.

    When I scroll down to areas like Sports or Business it just seems so stark and like it is unfinished. IT just GLARES back at you. STARK is what it is.

    Here in Texas, they found that many people came to the site for the weather first. I had to search your site to find weather. It is a tiny little post at the very top of the page. Weather effects more of us than what is happening in Syria or how the presidential primary is doing MAKE IT PROMINENT don’t hide it. Also put a link on it so I can see what is forecast for the rest of the week. I have plans and I need to know how I am going to be effected.

    At the top of the home page you have all the sections lined up across the top of the page. As I move my cursor over them they have color. Why not show that color to start with? The same color all over is BLAAAHHH and boring. Put some pizazz in the home page, Lets make it come alive

    my last comment. I went to a nice restaurant the other night. I opened the menu on those first two pages it had nice photos of the food and a description and the price. Almost all of what they had to offer was right there in front of me. I could scan that open menu and make my choice. It made it easy to chose and I made my selection based on the look of the food and the description. It was easy and I was happy when the food got there. I hate to go to a restaurant and have a leather bound menu with 6 or more pages. I have to keep flipping back and forth to see all they have to offer. They try and make it better by doing it in a gold scroll type and no explanations. Is this is going to make the food better? NO! It takes me longer to chose, I keep flipping back and forth to compare, I have to ask what it really is and it frustrates me. Make it simple, make it look appealing and make it easy to chose. Don’t Hide so much, show it in an orderly manner.

    I do hope you keep working on this, and I hope my observations give you some ideas. Good luck. I want this site to be done really well. as an LDS person it reflects a lot on all of us.

    • Logan Dunn

      @Cliff, Thanks for the feedback. As before, it is appreciated. We are working to make our most important content front and center. We realize that there are some issues with the new design that causes content to be more difficult to find. We have updates coming that should help. Thanks for your concern and please continue to help out.

  12. Jerry Allen

    Previously it was to be honest lousy. Now it is one step above it. I am frustrated when I have a difficult time looking up an obituary. Further, there is life beyond Utah and Salt Lake counties, but you and KSL have yet to relearn that; it was something started by Brigham Young and almost ignored by present occupants. I would think someone coming from Ephraim would know that, but then I realize a designer has no control over the ignorance of the editors.

  13. unhappy camper

    Why are there multiple headings with the same title. The articles do not seem to change at all. I just read the sltrib and did not see a heading listed more than once. Also I read an article then have to scroll back up to the top of the article to see the comment tab. It would be easier to read the article and have the comment tab at the end of the article. Personally I hate this new format for the DN.

  14. Dennis

    I do not like the new design! It is way to “busy” and at first glance you cannot find what you are looking for. You have to spend way too much time trying to find things and the majority of articles seem to be old articles from days gone by, even a week old. I am spending alot less time on your site than I used to.

  15. Gary Stevens

    What has happened to the subscriber comments following each news story? Most stories have 0 comments, and usually only 3 or 4 comments. Previously, there were often 20, 30, or more comments for many stories. Are the censors deleting them?

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