A big “thank you”

…to all of you who have commented on the post about the new Birmingham Post website.

I have been blown away by the eloquent and erudite feedback you have given me. It’s also impressed others at The Post and I can promise that everything that has been posted here has been read and taken seriously by people on the development team.

In fact my job this week is to pull together everything that has been said and put it into a summary document. I will, of course, upload it for further critique from you all!

Today I spent three hours(!) in a meeting with Marc our editor and Steve our head of multimedia bashing out what content we would like to see on the site.

Not sure how much I can give away, but a lot of it follows what has already been said on this blog.

For me, the most important thing is that the site is uncluttered, simple to use and searchable. All the bells and whistles can be added later, but it’s about getting the fundementals right.

We’ve got a nice head start in that we will be using a similar template to other papers in the group such as the Liverpool Post, Liverpool Echo, Daily Post (Wales) and Daily Record (Scotland).

Ours, however, will have a very distinct Birmingham Post feel.

7 thoughts on “A big “thank you”

  1. Ah, well, thank you for setting the question!

    Now, since it seems to be coming to a close very quickly, here’s a link to the least-cluttered news site I’ve seen so far: http://hosted.ap.org/. It’s the Associated Press site, and even though it’s got a scrunched-together list on the left, that list also changes its own contents dynamically. So I might look at it once in a while instead of dismissing it as a static, monolithic block. The story layout is also a nice touch, partly in that everything is in one column, and each has a few lines of the story. None of that Hello!/People magazine style.

    I am hopeful that the designers and their commandantes can come up with something like this.

    Aside from that, I was wondering what the social profile of the web-based readership is like. Are they technically savvy, highly literate, and looking for a resource that matches their interests? Are they local news junkies who just want the facts laid out in a straightforward manner? Are they generalists who want a quick summary in a glance? Would the site be designed with such groups in mind?

  2. Those sites look pretty much identical, apart from new footers, headers and colour schemes. I hope your going to do a lot more with it!

  3. Those sites look pretty much identical, apart from new footers, headers and colour schemes. I hope your going to do a lot more with it!

    That was my initial thought, but then most blogs look the same these days and that doesn’t tend to be an issue. What you do put in the template and the behind the scenes stuff is where it’s really at.

  4. I’m afraid this is a hurried response (‘cos I’m doing this during work). So apologies for the typos:

    @dp: Thanks for the link. I’m sorry if all this seems a bit rushed, but it certainly doesn’t mean we’re not still looking for feedback!

    It’s only that the first post was sparked off by the fact I had a meeting on Monday. I think there’s another this Friday, so I’ll present more stuff (including a summary doc of what’s written here) then. If you are inspred to, please keep posting!

    As for the social profile of web users: I think we’re targetting the business/professional community in the West Midlands. Think Colmore Row in Birmingham and as one example.

    These people are at varying degrees of tech-savvy but what they all share is a desire to access news and information in a short space of time – hence why I think it’s important to make the website easy to use and to search. I think mobile technology will be increasingly important to this group too.

    @Tom: I agree – they ain’t the prettiest in the world, are they? I am also hoping that what we produce will be more distinct and, I hope, a little more elegant.

    But that’s just my perosnal preference. I don’t know exactly what people have in mind yet for the look and feel of the site.

  5. I think the key is to exploit the potential of the internet to its fullest, rather than treating the website as an adjunct to your print edition. The Guardian has done this successfully with the effect that its website is now much more widely read than the newspaper.

  6. It’s kind of a drag that David Byrne doesn’t have comments enabled on his blog, because his pieces often provoke several.

    In this instance he’s been on a tour of the new NY Times building and operations, and ponders the question of deriving income. I don’t know that it has any bearing on what the Post is considering, but thought that you might get something from it.

    As an aside, the photo of the Ben Rubin and Mark Hansen installation would be cool to translate to the web. What if the home page had some sort of hieroglyphic display that tested reader’s memory and provided artistic distraction? How many online news pages have any interactive art? What if the Post decided to provide a bit of display space for local creatives to fill on a rota? Hmmm.

    The link again, just in case: http://journal.davidbyrne.com/2007/12/12062007-embedd.html

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