Yes it’s true, it looks like the days might be numbered for icBirmingham. We are finally getting a new website!
When Trinity Mirror decided to keep the Post & Mail, part of the announcement alluded to the fact that an upgrade in IT and our websites was on its way.
Now it looks like a shiny, new Birmingham Post website will be launched at some point next year.
To my surprise and delight I have been picked to be part of the development team (I guess it was a good thing those bigwigs were reading my blog after all!).
Part of my job is to shape what sort of content the site should have. I’m going to be studying what’s out there on the web already to see if there’s stuff I think could be useful – and to try and avoid some of the mistakes that others have made.
Now, I know there are some things I want from a news website: a home page that is constantly updated with breaking news; rss feeds for categories of news that I’m interested in; email alerts for breaking stories; an easily searchable archive and the ability to post a comment at the bottom of a story. I am also stupidly addicted to links to the day’s most read and most emailed stories.
I also think there’s a place for video content, especially if it’s giving a slightly different angle to a story – maybe showing the drama of breaking news or, perhaps, the human side of a business deal. One video that caught my attention was a feature from the New York Times on Paypal founder Max Levchin. That really worked for me (except the damn stupid ad before the video).
Speaking of ads: My ideal news website would also have its advertising in a sensible place and certainly NOT have any of those horrible things that follow you around when you scroll.
But, the thing is, I’m just one person.
How I used news sites is different to how others might use them. I know, for example, I’m very biased towards the news side of things. But news websites can also provide other content too (features, share prices, weather, traffic information, directories, etc.)
So, I wondered, what sort of content do other people use news websites for? What features do other people find useful? I guess this post is a call out to people to find out what you might want from a new, improved, Birmingham Post website.
We’ve got a meeting on Monday to start putting all this stuff together. I’m really excited about it as we could soon have a website that I’m proud of, rather than one I have to constantly apologise for.
[Edit: If you want to see the sites and features I’ve been looking at, I’ve bookmarked them on del.licio.us tagged as Jo’sResearch. I’ll be discussing these at the meeting on Monday. Is there anything I’ve missed?]