Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What's up with's home page

One of my loyal watchdog critics emailed yesterday about the home page’s new look. He wrote,
Now compact and abbreviated, it's more like a few teases rather than a healthy glimpse inside the entire edition, complete with links.
Manpower issues?

Au contraire. All the content is still there. In fact, we’ve added some features. Here’s the skinny:

The home page was redesigned to load faster, because you were having to wait far too long –- eight to 10 seconds. With the redesign, the page loads twice as fast -- and is 30 percent shorter. Why? Because research shows users don’t like to scroll down very far for overall page observation.

The top part of the page is the same: Top Stories, popular stories and breaking news. Links to the Herald's blogs have been moved into the breaking news space, but still are a work in progress for more visibility.

As you move down the page, you’ll see Local content, with tabs for sports, business, Lakewood Ranch, entertainment -– and Stumble.

OK, I admit it. Brand new one on me. Stumble is a cool feature that allows you to “stumble” across features throughout our site. With this tab, pages typically buried deep in are now a click away from your discovery and addiction.

The advertising elements on the home page also have new highlights, including a new “bizlist” widget in the side rail that gives you a fantastic search engine to find businesses offering what you want. I tested with “Bealls” and got listings for all outlets, Google maps and more.

The CareerBuilder search widget has also been updated and moved higher on the page. We hope this adds good karma to the hopes that 2010 is going to be a turnaround year. In today’s business story by Business Editor Jennifer Rich, it seems we might have far more jobs on CareerBuilder this year. Let’s hope so.

One more widget for you to check out: The video widget now includes more content, and we’ll be adding plenty there in upcoming weeks.

Whew. All that for a 4-second upload. Stay tuned. And let us know what you like and dislike.

-- Joan

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