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Social, Visual, and Mobile: New Website Priorities for Content-Heavy Sites
By: Tiana Tucker
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Last week, Mashable, a major online news website and blog with a focus on social media and technology, debuted a drastically redesigned website. The redesign was inspired by the rise in website traffic from social networks and mobile devices. The overall design moves towards creating a better social, mobile, and visual experience.

Homepage Changes
One major difference from the old site is that it has ditched the reverse chronologic presentation of stories and instead breaks articles into three categories:
1. New Stuff – left column; a continuous stream of newly published content
2. The Next Big Thing – middle column; offers content pieces that a unique Mashable algorithm predicts are soon to become hot topics
3. What’s Hot – right column; features items with the most social engagement

Infinite scrolling has been added, which directly caters to mobile web users and allows more opportunity for news discovery. News story popularity and visuals also step into a leading role on Mashable’s homepage. The amount of shares an article has is featured quite prominently below each headline. Visuals accompanying articles have received more space and increased resolution on every device thanks to the use of HTML5.

Sharing Microcontent
Sharing a portion of any particular news story, such as a quote or photo, has been made is easy with the new microcontent sharing functionality, in which a user simply takes a piece of a story and shares it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.

Dynamic Comments Section
The comments section, now powered by Livefyre, allows readers to insert photos from Instagram and Flickr, music from Spotify and Soundcloud, and videos from YouTube and Vimeo in the event that words don’t quite do the best job in getting a point across.   

Other Recent Website Redesigns
Over the past few months, a number of other online news resources have revamped their websites including USA Today, Glamour, The Next Web, and others. USA Today’s redesign added horizontal website browsing as an alternative to using the website’s main navigation. In addition, the USA Today website also allows users the choice of browsing news stories in grid, list, and ‘The Big Page’ (oversized high resolution photo feature) views. The Next Web redesign makes sharing content to any major social network or online bookmarking application, like Instapaper and Pocket, really simple. Glamour magazine’s website redesign increased the ease of sharing content via Pinterest and even gives image credit to Pinterest users in some its stories. On the whole, content-heavy sites are moving towards becoming more social, visual, and mobile.


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About the Author
Tiana Tucker is an online marketing professional working as the Inbound Marketer for Nursing@Simmons, which is an online master's in nursing offered by Simmons College. Keep up with Tiana on Twitter @TianaMTucker or Google+.

 

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