Best Practices in Web Redesigns
Publishers ramp up their Web presences to meet consumer expectations.
Bloomberg Businessweek: An Editor-Friendly Platform
After relaunching its print product two years ago, Bloomberg Businessweek recently debuted a redesigned website to reflect the changes readers are seeing in print. A CMS overhaul, upgraded workflow and refreshed home page are all part of the final product.
â€śIt was a temporal issue that we didnâ€™t have back-end infrastructure and the CMS to support a rapid production schedule. The rendering layer also didnâ€™t offer a place to showcase the kind of story telling our editors and designers are doing,â€ť says Brad Rickman, product lead with Businessweek.com.
The process began in early 2011, with the Businessweek team migrating Web operations to a new CMS. The system is mostly custom, but uses Wordpress functions as well. After a six-month CMS transition, the next eight were spent designing the new site. â€śWeâ€™ve touched on everything from the database infrastructure to the application to the surface layers that we use to deliver and syndicate content,â€ť he tells FOLIO:.
Ebony: Erasing the Gap Between Print and Digital
â€śAs I rolled out the redesign for the print magazine, I also reimagined the entire Ebony brand,â€ť says Ebony editor-in-chief Amy DuBois Barnett. â€śWe began rethinking brand pillars, target demographic, the voice of the brand, aesthetic of the brand and the topics we would cover. Thatâ€™s a sweeping change that was not reflected in the site at all.â€ť
After the redesigned magazine dropped in April 2011, staff began refreshing the site. Code and Theory, a design company thatâ€™s worked with The Daily Beast and Vogue, was brought on to help with the overhaul.
To create a more seamless experience for Ebony readers, fonts used in-book can also be seen on the magazineâ€™s website. Ebonyâ€™s custom CMS was built with the knowledge that consumer behavior on the Web is rapidly changing. â€śWe realize that people arenâ€™t coming to our website via homepages, but for individual pieces of content. Social is how we get half our traffic; people are definitely having that exchange in their own personal spaces and then coming to us,â€ť says DuBois Barnett.
Cygnus Business Media: Simplifying for the Future
â€śWe needed the ability to combine our print and online workflows into a common platform. A centralized database allows Cygnus to segment our content according to our audience needs and allows our editors to create related content from Cygnus sister sites,â€ť says Eric Kammerzelt, VP of technology.Â
By tapping into open source technologies like PHP, SQL, MongoDB, Apache SoIR and Varnish, the Cygnus team created a custom in-house platform. The 31 sites were migrated in rapid succession over a nine-month period.
EVP of digital Tom Kohn says,â€śWeâ€™ve also seen advertising click-throughs increase 3x across our new sites and many have seen a 10-20 percent increase in both page views and unique visitors.â€ť