When Condé Nast bought Wired News for $25 million from Lycos last year—reuniting the site with its print namesake after a seven-year split, the move was viewed as one that was a long time coming. Behind the scenes, though, the magazine was undergoing a drastic redesign, and Condé Nast brought in Avenue A/Razorfish to bring the visual design of the site closer to the magazine’s soon-to-be new look.

A New Navigational Approach
Razorfish implemented squares from Scott Dadich, Wired‘s design director who was engineering the print overhaul, throughout the site. “We kept a lot of white space on the page,” says Evan Hansen, Wired.com’s editor-in-chief. He says the design firm came up with the unusual middle-of-the-page navigation bar. “Everyone told us that was a mistake,” says Hansen. “[But] it sets up two editorial sections that work naturally with our content.” The content display, Hansen says, was the key to differentiating the site from its chief competitors, like Slashdot, Digg and Reddit, which Condé Nast acquired last fall. “They all have this sort of reverse-chronological, stripped down display,” says Hansen. “We wanted to break away from that.”

Wired.com was relaunched in March, two months after the magazine introduced a redesign of its own.

Hansen says Condé Nast’s deal to bring Wired.com back into the corporate tent, while still keeping the digital and print editorial units separate, has led to a closer collaboration. The site overhauled its product reviews section with help from the print side, and now editors from the magazine are writing for the site’s blogs and news sections regularly.

“It’s bridging the gap between online and print,” says Hansen. “We never really had that before.”
And the work has paid off. Wired.com now reports 5.5 million unique visitors a month, up from 2,000,000 in September 2006, when Hansen and co. initiated the redesign.

Judges Comments: “Wired packs a lot of resources into this blog and it shows: tons of content, lots of links, great art. Nice, clean

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