Status update: Keep the comments coming

Earlier this month, our digital team and other company employees gathered in a window-lined conference room to talk about the most important aspect of our business: you.

We dedicated that morning to the topic of “thinking like a user,” and we make that the focus of our efforts every day.

Our goal is to provide you with the best online news experience possible. This is why we exchange emails at 1 a.m. discussing the feedback we receive from you. This is why we hire the most innovative individuals in our industry. This is why our family dinner conversations include the words “widgets” and “meta tags.” This is why our soda machine is out of Dr. Pepper by 9 a.m.

While we are guzzling sugar and diligently working to make DeseretNews.com your preferred news source, we recognize that the transition to the new design has come with some pesky bugs and frustrating glitches. In particular, we have received feedback this week from users who are having trouble entering comments. We have not completely resolved this issue yet, but we want you to know we’re working on it, and we’ll have it fixed as quickly as possible.

In addition to remedying the comment issue, we’ve finished some other improvements, and we want to point out a few helpful new features:

  • Did you notice that “Obituaries” has moved to the top level of the navigation bar? You told us it was too tricky to find in its previous location, and we listened. This update also involved tweaks to the “Marketplace” navigation just to the right of “Obituaries.” Did you know you can access KSL Classifieds here?

  • We added “Lists” and “Blogs” widgets to the left side of each section page, so you can find this content more easily. 
  • If you scroll to the very bottom of any page on the site, you’ll see a new feature called “Special Sections.” These are topics that we produce many stories about during certain times of the year. For example, in preparation for its opening on March 22, we’re increasing our coverage of City Creek Center. So, you’ll see “City Creek” featured in this lower box, and you’ll also see it set off in the main “News” navigation bar. When our coverage of this slows down, “City Creek” will fall from the navigation bar, but you’ll always be able to access it from the footer box. Other special topics, like the Olympics and LDS General Conference, will be treated the same way.
  • To ensure article discussions remain relevant and productive, we’ve added a word limit to comments. A real-time word-count tracker shows you how many words you have remaining. 
  • We removed the “Feedback” tab and box from the left side of the site because it was preventing readers on mobile devices from seeing our “Top Stories.” We’d still love to hear your feedback, though. You can use the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of the site or the “Submit a tip” button at the top of the site to send us your thoughts. (Note: “Submit a tip” opens up a form that allows you to send us more than just a story idea.)

We hope these changes will improve your experience on the site. If you have questions or suggestions, send them our way. We love receiving your feedback. Your input is essential to the success of the site. Keep the ideas coming, and we’ll keep the soda machine stocked.

55 comments

  1. Bart Bateman

    Hello, there are 2 issues you all need to fix please.

    1. when you have a photo array like with your Dreamliner story and you have the automatic change between the pics, the advertisement on the right changes with each pic also and causes the pics and the advertisement to not download properly and skips the pics or just partially show the pic or shows the pic for only a split second. EXTREMELY annoying!

    2. on almost all of the stories read, the ads on the right on the last of the info and ads as you scroll down are overlaid with another ad so it is unreadable and looks very unprofessional.

    Thanks!

    • Emily Eyring

      @Bart, Thank you for your comment. Some additional information will help me look into this. I’ll send you an email with a few questions, and we’ll work on fixing this right away.

    • Emily Eyring

      @Kerry, Thank you for your feedback. I’ll send you an email shortly requesting some information that will help us investigate and resolve this issue.

  2. Robert B. Nixon

    I have looked and can’t find the article I want n Christianity Buddhism Neighborly By Jerry Earl Johnson. I feel that your si;stem is fighting me.

  3. Verne Snow

    Please note that there is something on the site that is conflicting with Internet Explorer because everytime I enter your site on certain webpages like today on the the main site I get the following message in a windows internet explorer error message box. “Unable to open Internet site http://www.deseretnews.com/home. Operation aborted.” I do view the web page but then when I click on ok or cancel on the error box it takes me to the windows troubleshooting page. This does not happen on other websites and only started with the new beta website you have published.

    • Emily Eyring

      @Verne Thank you for letting us know about this problem. I will send you an email momentarily requesting additional information that will help me look into this.

  4. LHP

    How come none of the pictures in the gallery open when I click to open pictures. I had to go back to old site to look at pictures.

    • Emily Eyring

      @LHP I will send you an email requesting some information about your browser that will help me look into this issue. Thank you for your feedback.

  5. Kurt Matthia

    I would like a way to personalize–either to totally suppress sections on the home page, or at least to re-order them. For example, I have no interest in sports. You have it in second position.

    Thank you, thank you for not thinking that Entertainment is news. Nonetheless, I would like to see an Arts section.

    • Emily Eyring

      @Kurt, This is an excellent suggestion. We’re in the process of adding some sorting features to our story queues that will help you personalize the news you see, but I’ll certainly bring this advanced personalization idea up in our next team meeting. Thank you for sharing your feedback!

  6. Kent Johnson

    1. I am getting the same IE crash as Verne Snow. The only way I could avoid it was to never go to your Home page. It doesn’t seem to occur on the other pages.
    2. The political cartoon page displays the current cartoon properly with thumbnails for past cartoons, but the link does not open the past cartoon from the thumbnail.
    3. When I see a comment on an article or editorial I think was well written and I want to express my concurrence, I appreciate being able to do so by just hitting the “like” button. It would really be nice to “like” the article or editorial itself in the same fashion. Could you please make an approval button available on the root article too?
    Thanks!

    • Emily Eyring

      @Kent, Thank you for your feedback. The issue you noticed with Internet Explorer should be fixed now. If you are still having this problem, would you mind letting me know? Also, thank you for your note about the political cartoons and the “like” button. I will look into both of these.

  7. Rusty

    I have a family of ADD’ers. Recently, we discovered how fun it is to be on LDS.org during conference. We pull up the speaker’s bio and place it next to them as they speak.

    I’m not ready to have everyone Tweeting though.

  8. JMS

    Ever since you made the changes in mid-March, I have been having the exact same problems as Verne Snow noted in his March 26 comments.

    Something on the site conflicts with Internet Explorer because every time I enter your site on certain web pages like today on the main site I get the following message in a windows internet explorer error message box. “Unable to open Internet site http://www.deseretnews.com/home. Operation aborted.” I do view the web page but then when I click on ok or cancel on the error box it takes me to the windows troubleshooting page. This does not happen on other websites and only started with the new beta website you have published.

    I am now reduced to reading the Salt Lake Tribune (ugh!) for online local news. Have you found a solution for us to these problems?

    • Emily Eyring

      @JMS, As I mentioned in my response above to Kent, we have fixed this Internet Explorer issue. However, if you continue experiencing this problem, would you mind letting me know? We want to make sure it is resolved!

  9. Krista Mc

    What is the print circulation of the Deseret News– the physical paper newspaper, home delivery and newsstand, not including internet hits and other electronic methods? Actual print circulation! Thank you

  10. Sean

    This isn’t working for me. The new look is fine, but last week I could read new articles and today I can’t. There was a “Most recent” list that is now gone. Without that, I grow tired of the ‘popular headlines’ on the homepage or different sections. There is no such thing as “breaking news” now. I’m stuck with popular headlines I read yesterday or even older ones. This new site seems built for the internet 5 years ago, not the internet today (and yes there is a big difference).

    I like the look, but simplicity shouldn’t be at the cost of a less functional site.

  11. Randall Smith

    While most comments are typically about complaints, I simply wanted to tell you the new design is very well done. The clean lines, the organization and the recognition that you don’t need to fill every square pixel with content is refreshingly inviting.

  12. Tom Hunsaker

    I find everything about the new format annoying. It is hard to navigate and find what I am looking for. I’m sorry But I will have to start rading something else since the Deseret News no longer meets my needs.

    • Emily Eyring

      @Tom, I’m sorry to hear that the new format isn’t meeting your needs. Is there something in particular you would like to see changed?

  13. Brian Peterson

    First, I’m pleased with most of what you have done. I visit the site daily, usually several times a day, and rarely have trouble finding what I’m looking for. For the most part my experience on the site is positive. My complaint is about the various lists you post. Sometimes I just want to see the list, all on one page. I don’t want to have to click through 50 items to see where Utah or some other state falls in a list of whatever the topic is about. (On the other hand, sometimes I do want to click through a list.) I realize that more clicks means more exposure, longer engagement, and more pages to place ads. But more often than not, I simply skip the list, especially when it’s a long one. I’d like to see an additional way to view a list in it’s entirety without having to slog through endless clicks to see what I want to see. Thanks for “listening.”

    • Emily Eyring

      @Brain, thank you for your feedback. We agree that there needs to be a better way to see the complete list. We’re discussing this right now, and we’ll let you know when we’ve got something ready.

  14. Doug

    @Emily, I’m interested in how and why my picture is being displayed in the comments. I was surprised when this suddenly started happening, not expecting it. I don’t remember uploading a picture and I can’t find a link to upload a different one or delete it or edit any of my “user settings” when I’m in the “blog” areas of the DesNews. I’m also a bit confused as to why the main part of the DesNews site is linked to a user account that I *am* familiar with (and doesn’t have a picture) and the other “blog” half of the site doesn’t seem to tie into any of that. Other than those two questions though, there’s a lot of site improvements I’ve liked. :)

    • Logan Dunn

      @Doug, your picture is being displayed via a service know as Gravatar (http://en.gravatar.com/). If you have created a Gravatar and linked it to the email you used to leave the comment, it will display on our site. You can change your image by going to Gravatar’s website and signing in. If you forgot your password, they will send you a new one to the address you used to comment here. Let me know if you have any other questions and thanks for the positive feedback!

  15. FB User

    the page formatting is broken on Firefox 12.0 when linking over from Facebook. All the content is there, but it looks like a webpage from 15 years ago, with bare HTML links.

    • Logan Dunn

      @FBUser I wonder if we had a short hiccup. I just tried coming over from FB to Deseret News while using Firefox 12 and I didn’t have any issues. Is the problem still happening?

      • Rita Miller

        That “hiccup” is happening again. For the past week, when I try to pull up a story from a link in my email, I get the stripped HTML format. Clicking on a link on the stripped page takes me (usually) to a fully functional page. Gotta a workaround for this one?

      • Logan Dunn

        @Rita. Thanks for keeping up on the issue. I have been listening for cases similar to yours and we have found a few instances. There seems to be a caching problem on our end where dn.com thinks your already have a local version of our CSS in our machine (but you really don’t), and so it delivers all the data to you without styling. The quick remedy to this is to clear your browser cache and reload the page. You should now get the stylesheet. We are working on fixing the problem on our end so it will correctly detect if you have the local copy of the CSS or not.

  16. Trevor Robinson

    I have been working on family histories, I use to be able to pull up obituaries back until 1988 not I am not able to. It seems like when obituaries go on Legacy then you cannot pull them up if they are older than 6 months. I like that you have your older archives but I have a hard time pulling up information up there. could you add that we could search a specific date in the archives. Thanks

  17. dennis

    I can’t find the link to weather or to movies. (It used to be easy to search movies by city/area.)

    Seems that cars for sale would be under the classifieds heading.

    • Emily Eyring

      @dennis, You can access the weather by clicking on the weather icon above the Deseret News logo at the top of every page. (Click here to see an image of this.) You can find movies by clicking on the Movies link in the sub-navigation bar on the home page. (Click here to see an image.) And you can find cars by clicking on the Cars link in the main navigation bar on every page of the site. (Click here to see an image.)

      I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  18. Garth Loosli

    I was pleased recently to see an advertising supplement produced by MediaOne of Utah that was entitled “Things to do – 140 adventures to get you out of the house”. I set it aside to find later, on line, and print off for my friend. I’ve forgotten, now, what day it came out, and the search function doesn’t seem to be able to find it.

    • Logan Dunn

      @Garth, Our advertisements are not included in our search results because they are provided to us by external sources. Ads are served differently based on the person, place, site section, etc. You said it was an ad by MediaOne of Utah? They might be able to identify your ad and tell you where it pointed. You can reach them by emailing them (advertising@mediaoneutah.com) or calling them (801.204.6500).

  19. Elaine

    I would like to send two articles to my daughter in upstate-NY, but cannot find them. Have spent a long time looking, though.

    Page B4 of May 28th – on the newly redefined homemaking
    Page C2 of May 28th – our family: 10 ways to encourage young kids in healthy artistic expression.

    Can you help me find them? Must not understand the search option.
    Thanks.
    Elaine

  20. Russ Daly

    I understand the need for advertising, but the video ads on the obituary pages are in extremely poor taste. Not the content of the ads, mind you, just their presence on a page where I prefer to be more contemplative and introspective.

    • Logan Dunn

      @Russ, Thanks for your feedback. Those videos are actually managed by legacy.com, our Obituaries provider. I will bring up your concerns with our team over Obituaries and see what can be done.

      • Russ Daly

        Doesn’t the Tribune use the same service? Their page doesn’t have audible videos.

      • Logan Dunn

        @Russ Yes, they have the same provider. There are not usually audible videos on those pages. Occasionally some slip through, however. I just checked and there doesn’t seem to be any problems right now. Thanks for letting us know and we appreciate the feedback.

    • Logan Dunn

      @taxedenough, Sorry to hear that. The login requires JavaScript to be running in order for it work. We are currently working on improving the login function to allow those without JS enabled to still be able to login. I suggest using the latest version of Internet Explorer (IE 9), FireFox, Chrome or Safari to avoid the problem. Let me know if that helps. If not, we can figure something else out.

  21. Edie George

    Why did you eliminate the ability to e-mail stories. I live in Virginia and love to share your stories with my family around the USA. Very sad that you won’t allow that any more

  22. Ray Tolman

    I can not get into the grid picks contest to see how I did for the first week. I went in on the 16th for last weeks contest and entered, and it said I was ready to go after I submited. But I can’t even get in to the grid pick contest this week. I have tried everything i know to do and can’t get to the picks. Please let me know whats going on. When I first went in last week I had no problem. Now I can’t even find it. HELP. I did get in to my acount some how and it said I had 0 wins ?

Leave a comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.

*