It looks like the announced website redesigns from a couple of weeks ago have come online. I noticed it first at The Record Courier today when I went to look at it.
Then I went to look at the other sites, Tahoe Daily Tribune, Tahoe Bonanza, Sierra Sun, and Lahontan Valley News, and all of them have been redesigned as well. The only one that didn’t get a new set of clothes is the big brother of the bunch, the Nevada Appeal. They must be holding off for a little bit because it’s the biggest and most complex site. It probably needs more work and testing to switch over. But I’m sure it will get the facelift too. I can’t imagine they’d deny the redesign to their Western Nevada flagship website. Give it a couple of days; it will get here.
I think the new design is a huge improvement over the old. Visually it looks a lot better than that old default template they were using, and the sections seem to be laid out and organized better. There are extra features, like comments, an AJAX events calendar, and user-submitted photo galleries. In all I like it. Strangely, though, the one place it seems like they didn’t pay much attention to are the articles themselves. The typography on the article text is fairly horrible; all the paragraphs just run together because there are no margins in between them. It makes for difficult reading when you’re sitting down to plow through a whole article. I’d also say the text in the headlines could stand to be bigger, and the reporter’s byline is so small and hard to find that it might as well be fine print. The publication date is pushed out of the way, too, like they’re trying to hide it. These are small style things that are easy to change, but I think that things like headline, pub date and byline are important enough that you should spend extra time on getting them to look just right.
Another thing they started some time ago, before the redesign, but haven’t advertised very well, is the e-edition of the paper. This is a way to read the paper online, but to actually see a scan of the page, as it really appears in the newspaper. Pretty neat.
Overall, these redesigns are definitely a big value add to the internet ecosystem of Western Nevada, and I can’t wait until the Nevada Appeal catches up to its smaller brothers.