When Lillian Taylor, our new Art & Graphic Director, joined the Northeast News staff last fall, one goal she wanted to tackle was updating our webpage, where many of our readers log in to read the latest stories posted.
While new stories and photos are added constantly, one major gripe from our readers was the difficulty of accessing content from mobile devices. Our publication uses a program called WordPress, which was last updated and redesigned in 2011, long before cell phones could access the internet.
However, Taylor’s specialty is graphic design, not web page design, and with all the other tasks she handles, hasn’t had the time to tackle the herculean project.
Enter Abby White, from the Missouri School of Journalism, who landed at the Shop of News on January 8 for a week-long visit as part of their Potter Digital Ambassador program. As our digital ambassador, White has delved into all things relating to analytics and accessing data that the regular news cats here don’t know much about, at least without White’s savvy assistance.
“The web page functioned well, for what it was,” explained White. “Being so outdated, there were a lot of features we couldn’t integrate easily with how it was.” It was also sleuthed out by our two intrepid techno-philes that our old site, unbeknownst to us, was set to crash and burn on March 1st.
By Wednesday afternoon, the orange construction barrels were up and readers were notified that the webpage was “under construction”.
“We accidently shut the page down,” admitted White, “but quickly got everything back up.”
Well, crisis averted! Now our loyal readers will notice a new theme for the page, which better correlates with recent changes to the print format. Improved links and search options will give users better access to current and previous stories.
Taylor, or “LT” as Mr. Publisher Bushnell likes to call her,
acknowledges that White’s assistance made the update process less of a headache.
“Abby’s help made it so much easier! I think now readers will take us more seriously, it’s a more professional look. We have better logo recognition throughout the page. It’s more mobile friendly, which was the goal,“ stated Taylor regarding the new page look.
While updating a news publication’s web page is not a usual task during a one week visit, White was eager to assist. “I actually like to go into web pages and mess around with things,” she admitted. During her studies, she did take a class in web design and also updated a news web page last summer during an internship.
Want to know how long it will take to read a story? A “minute read” has been added to each. Avatars for each staff member have been added to their byline.
“Just some fun things we added, because we could,“ admitted Taylor.
Amid all the new stuff just added, the translation widget that aids readers of different languages is still found in the top right corner of the page. Our Potter Digital Ambassador from 2023, Sophie Zieman, introduced us to that helpful update, which continues to gain popularity.
The new look went “live” around noon on Friday. All of us here at the Shop of News are eternally grateful to our MU Fellow Abby White for saving us from certain disaster and giving us a hand up in making our web product so much easier to use and a whole heckuva lot better lookin’!
Let us know how you like our new look!