With an emphasis on interaction, visuals and ease of use, the East Valley Tribune has launched a brand new website.
Soft launched on July 25, Tribune Associate Publisher Ryan Kedzierski said the new EastValleyTribune.com features far more visuals than the site’s previous design, complete with photos and videos taken by editorial staff of the East Valley community.
The options span photos of students hitting campus on the first day of school to videos on what to do in Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert and the rest of the East Valley. On the video front, the site is also ready to prominently showcase local business profiles, introducing the ventures that are the backbone of the East Valley’s economy to Tribune readers, Kedzierski said.
Kedzierski said the shift to a visual-dominant website stemmed from feedback the Tribune received that indicated a preference for photos and videos, which aligns with the axiom that a picture is worth a thousand words.
“If you look at other news sites, a lot of sites are going more visual,” he said.
Tribune managing editor Brett Fera added while the Tribune’s previous website served the company well and was heavy on content and headlines, it also came with a lot of lists and text and didn’t have that same interactive feel.
Among the highlights of the new website, Kedzierski and Fera both said, is the new update ticker, which keeps track of how much content is posted on the site on a daily basis. Fera said the update ticker acts as a way to assure readers there’s value in revisiting the website frequently.
“People know it’s never a stale website; we’re always flowing content,” Kedierski said.
Another aspect they mentioned is the navigation menu that scrolls down on the page as the reader peruses an article or the article’s comment section. In the old days, Kedzierski said, the navigation menu would remain at the top of the page and require readers to scroll back to the top if they wanted to move on to a different section.
Now, the menu trails the reader, which makes it easier to maneuver on the page while deepening the website’s content.
“We have fewer headlines above the fold, but they’re all preserved in a visual way,” Fera said.
Other updated features include a bevy of email newsletters distributed to inboxes and sorted by topic or interest, as well as a more robust calendar offering through “Get Out,” the Tribune’s home for “things to do in and around the East Valley. The new calendar, like the main website, is also image-driven, and allows users to share their own local events while also being searchable via city or zip code for concerts, farmers markets, community gatherings, and a host of other things going on. Also, as part of the Tribune’s “Varsity Xtra” high school sports coverage, #VXRecruit includes a database of local athletes working toward opportunities playing college sports, as well as an interactive Twitter feature that allows students to share their journey with Tribune readers as it happens.
The overall effect of the change is a website Kedzierski said is bright and shiny and capable of grabbing and keeping attention of the Tribune’s readers.
“It definitely keeps the user wanting more,” he said.
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