November 5, 2012 in College Media, Websites
This is a post that’s as much for my own record-keeping as anything. The Aviso (pronounced ah-vee-soh) at Malone University in Canton, Ohio, stopped publishing a print edition three years ago and they’ve been online-only since then.
I sat with two student editors during the critique sessions at the ACP/CMA Convention in Chicago and gave them some suggestions for improving their site. The one thing they definitely have going for them is that there’s not a legacy print edition hanging over their efforts to focus on web-first journalism. Even so, they were still in a weekly production mode. My main encouragement to them was to get out of that mindset.
The site is run on WordPress with a WooThemes theme. I also mentioned some tweaks to the site design, including checking about a responsive design version of their theme.
October 10, 2012 in Redesigns, Websites
A shout out from Canada. Geoff Lister, alumnus, notes that The Ubyssey of the University of British Columbia has redesigned their web site with a responsive design. Here’s what the site looks like now:
And here’s a snapshot of what the site looked like this July from archive.org:
It’s hard to judge the changes to the site based on the link from the Wayback Machine, but the new site does look well organized, with plenty of white space and clear organization. Be sure and follow the link above to check out the whole front page.
October 2, 2012 in Redesigns, Websites
The Michigan State State News launched a redesigned site yesterday. Here’s a look at the new site:
Omar Sofradzija, editorial adviser/permissions manager for the State News, pointed out the following new features of the site via e-mail:
- A responsive design, which also replaces the previous separate mobile edition. The site simply reconfigures itself to fit any size tablet or mobile phone. It’s a format we believe is the future of news mobile, and one that better integrates and promotes online content consistently, regardless of the user’s choice of media.
- A multimedia box that primarily teases with what makes multimedia strong: visuals, with secondary headline text available by scrolling over a target image.
- Video that works across all platforms (no “must install Flash” headaches for the audience).
- Social media — which has been a major source of visitors to statenews.com as of late, representing as much as one-third of our site traffic — is more prominently featured on the site.
Please keep in mind this site is essentially in a permanent “beta” mode. We will continue to offer updates as they become available.
And yes, this comes as part of the Gryphon CMS offered by SNworks, a division of The State News.
Here’s what the old version of the site looked like in July, 2011, courtesy of the Wayback Machine:
September 27, 2012 in Redesigns, Websites
The Daily Nebraskan recently switched from College Publisher to TownNews, and along with the switch, a redesign. Here’s the new site:
And here’s their redesign from 2011:
Dan Shattil notes in an e-mail: “We’re still tweaking it but it allowed us to post a Tom Osborne Legacy section we developed last night following the Athletic Director’s announcement yesterday of his retirement. This includes an interactive timeline the staff created last night.”
The black “white space” is a definite contrast, and again, there’s an emphasis on more graphics on the page. Multimedia is also prominent near the top of the page. One thing I’m not necessarily a fan of is putting an advertising banner between the site header and the content. We debated that at the DEN when we redesigned last year. The TownNews CMS allows a lot of “tweaking” within the confines of the overall site design, so it will be interesting to see how the site evolves as they get more time to experiment.
September 25, 2012 in Redesigns
The Simpsonian at Simpson College recently underwent a redesign. Here’s the new site:
Lots of white space, big graphics, and a prominent place for their seemingly frequent Twitter feed. I might suggest a few more teaser paragraphs on the front page, and some differentiation of headline sizes. The Simpsonian switched to the TownNews Blox CMS last year from College Publisher, but I don’t have an image from the previous version of the new CMS. Here’s an old version from the Wayback Machine from 2011:
The new site is a clear improvement over the old site design.
September 18, 2012 in Redesigns, Websites
The Kennesaw State U. Sentinel redesigned their website recently. Taylor White writes in an e-mail that the Sentinel “previously used a standard WordPress template. The layout was created to match the new look of the printed paper–both designed by former website manager Chris Dailey.”
This really is a major redesign, as the old site had a “blog-like” look. The new design features large graphics, bold headlines, and a clear navigation structure in the left sidebar. The one thing I might suggest is moving the search bar to the top of the right ad sidebar. Web readers expect a search box at the top of the page somewhere.
Here’s the new site:
Here’s the old site:
September 17, 2012 in Redesigns, Websites
The Doane College Doaneline has redesigned for the fall semester. The new version features a colorful branding of the site name and nav bar, more information above the fold, and larger photographs.
Here’s the new version:
And here’s the previous version:
September 12, 2012 in Tech Talk
image from apple.com
Today, Apple announced the latest iteration of the iPhone. Maybe it’s just me, but the changes to the device from iPhone 4S ranged from the incremental (new earbuds, panoramic photos, better low-light images) to the downright annoying (a half-inch larger screen to render all your cases obsolete! new dongles!). As Joshua Benton wrote at Nieman Labs, there’s nothing game-changing here for journalists.
I’ve been using an Android for the last two years, and I’m actually considering trading “up” to an iPhone 4S once the early-adopters grab their 5′s (maybe I can pick up some cheap cases and dongles, too).
There is also news of an upgrade to the iPod Touch, to which I say: it’s about time. The camera is still 5 megapixels, but they added a forward-facing camera. They did manage to jack the price up to $299, apparently. Someone also spilled the color wheel on the line, as you can choose from 5 colors. But for student journalists who don’t want to pay monthly for an iPhone (or for college news outlets looking for a less expensive mobile reporting tool), this could be an alternative.
If you have a 4S, I don’t know that it makes sense to upgrade other than to renew your fanboi cred.