Project Overview

User Experience Redesign for a Daily Newspaper Website

Client The Columbian Publishing Company
  • Editor: Lou Brancaccio
  • Project Manager: Jeff Bunch
  • Web Editor: John Hill
  • IT Manager: Olav Rove
  • Application Support Manager: Nathan Kostrba
  • Web Developer: Patrick Curtain
  • User Interface and Experience Designer

I was hired by the Columbian to simplify the online news reading experience and assist in template conversion to the Python-based Ellington platform. The team had less than six weeks to complete the project.

The initial discovery phase revealed the best approach to take for navigation and layout. I redesigned the all-important masthead, simplified navigation, and reworked elements to mirror the newspaper experience. I also established a content hierarchy to create a visual flow to the page and created layout guidelines plus an area on the site was set aside specifically for them.

We developed a workflow where I would design static HTML/CSS templates which would be coded and submitted for testing with actual daily news articles. Select users could see the beta site skinned with the new layouts and could provide feedback in real-time. The new site went live in under six weeks as promised.

As expected, there was some slight initial user confusion in locating their favorite news section. However, overall feedback was positive and users commented that the site seemed more intuitive and easier to read. Along with its simplified design, the home page carousel featuring the top news is still in use today.

Notes The Columbian now runs on the WordPress platform. The website has been modified to work in this new environment, but the user principles we established have been carried over to the new design.
The original Columbian news website. Typical of many at the time: crowded content, difficult navigation and confusing user experience.
Team brainstorm session to re-engineer the home page.
Updated design with clearer navigation and news hierarchy. Masthead mirrors newspaper treatment.