Watch Evansville's courierpress.com site today — and not just for the likelihood of more severe weather in the southern Ohio Valley, though they get plenty.
No, I refer to a major site redesign; with it, a new user experience architecture. Barring unforeseen delays, it launches today. Update: It went live about 2 p.m. Eastern time.
Scripps followers know we shoot for continuous improvement of our Web architectures, and today's changes in Evansville begin an ambitious new cycle for us. Jim Michels, site leader there, announced the coming changes to site visitors and explained some of the improvements:
“You, the user, will have more ownership of the site. New 'pull-down' menus will help you navigate to find what you are looking for quicker.
“For instance, roll over 'News' with your mouse and you will see a host of links. Roll over 'The Gleaner' and you will find all the content from Henderson.
As you scroll down our new home page, you will see the site divided into groups of headlines organized by sections. There are sections for news, sports, opinions, events, etc.
One of the new features allows you to customize the site for what you want to read first. Let's say it's basketball season, and sports is most important to you. Simply click on the arrow on the 'sports' bar and move it up the page. You can change it anytime.
Scripps' user experience team, led by Herb Himes, also worked hard on subtleties such as relative scale of objects on the pages, readability of article text, background colors that let images stand out better, and both visual and functional cues to make navigation easier and more intuitive.
All this stuff still runs in our Ellington- and Django-based site management systems. I hope you will agree we've taken best advantage of those systems' capabilities and added a few new tricks of our own.
I'm writing this now because I probably will be on a plane when the team pulls the big lever to launch. I guess that's taking a bit of a chance, if the team runs into problems — but we feel pretty good about it. Wish us luck, please!