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Nov. 19, 2013, 2:33 p.m.
Reporting & Production
LINK: www.snd.org  ➚   |   Posted by: Caroline O'Donovan   |   November 19, 2013

Chicago magazine redesigned its website last month, making all the usual changes, from a new typeface to bigger photos, a cleaner layout, and a responsive mobile page.

In a post on the Society for News Design’s blog, Luke Seeman, who headed up the new design, discusses why they changed the look of the site, and the need to have a dialogue with readers about the process. In the interview with Rachel Schallom, a designer with the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Seeman says one surprising result of the new look has been the possibility of doing outside design work.

One other bonus is that advertisers have noticed, too. An ad rep this week told me that a potential client would like us to build them a microsite — and pay us accordingly — because they think our new site is nicer than their own. That’s the kind of anecdote that makes me — and my bosses — very happy….

If you look at any media page, the components can be filed into two broad categories: 1. Things the reader wants — headline, story, photos; 2. Things we want the reader to want — ads, subscription offers, navigation, links to “related” stories, social-media entreaties.

Now, that second category is very noble, and the things therein pay a great number of bills. But 99% of the time it’s not what a reader is on a page to do. They’re on a page because they clicked on Headline X. They clicked on Headline X because — and only because — they want to read about Headline X. My thinking is, Let’s every now and then get out the way and let the reader be. Let’s strip away as much of the crap from the page as we can and leave her alone with the story. Radical, huh?

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