In 2010, Richmond's leading alternative weekly wanted to redesign their website so that it would be easier to navigate and expose more of their content to visitors. Looking towards a touch-screen future, they initially wanted something similar to the New York Times Skimmer, so we used research to find a design solution that was both fresh and future-friendly.
In order to get a better understanding of what was important to their readers, our team installed Crazy Egg to track clicks on Style's old website, which produces visual heatmaps of the areas users go to the most. Based on this data, it was obvious users were gravitating towards Food & Drink, Search, Event Listings, and the Recent Comments.
Using our research, this is the first version of the site I designed. We presented this design, along with another version, to a group of Style readers who had expressed interest in providing feedback about the new site. We asked them to rate the design on a scale of 1-10, and click on the areas that they liked most.
Overall, user response was very positive. They rated this designer higher than the alternative, which was a fixed-height layout similar to the New York Times Skimmer.
Based on the feedback we received, we did two more iterations of the design, adding more photos with the articles, well-defined section headers, and more prominent food & drink articles. We also explored different ways to integrate advertising into the site.
The reception from Style Weekly's readership was overwhelmingly positive, and I was happy to have helped a local publication find a cost-effective way to improve their online presence.