Designing for the Web ~ Layout
The Brief The first meeting took place in the National Portrait Gallery in London on a nice sunny day. Immediately I was struck by the lofty goals of the redesign of the website. The New York Times website, together with The Times in the UK, and The Guardian, were all mentioned as the benchmark that needed to be set for the design. The bar was indeed set high. It was important, during that initial briefing session, that I understood the motivations behind the need to redesign. They can be summarised as:
Front cover, back page and 1 page spread from the Future of News document by Oliver Reichenstein
ßƹ Improve the core content ß Improve the brand and appeal to the users of the website, not the readers of the paper ß Improve the innovation of the new site ß Improve the business model (better ad positioning, sell subscriptions, cross promotion) ß Outdated look and feel. ß Integration of new content management system. As you can see, the breadth of the design problem was considerable. From the business strategy and revenue models, all the way up to the typography and brand perception. All of it had to be considered, rationalised, researched, and designed. Should a newspaper online look offline? During the research and discovery phase of the project, I kept asking myself the same questions regarding newspapers online. Do they need to look like their offline siblings? Should I try to be emulating some of the conventions used in the physical newspaper? It’s an important consideration, and something I’m not alone in contemplating. Information Architects, (iA), the small design studio in Japan, wrote a seminal document called ‘The Future of News’, where they highlighted the risks and opportunities for newspaper companies in the coming years to take advantage of the web. Many of these were relevant for this project.
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Designing for the web