nzherald.co.nz has been given a bit of a spruce up, with a revamped homepage, an improved navigation menu and easier access to opinion pieces, forums, editor's picks and other content. And, slightly ironically, the e-sprucing was announced just after the old version was awarded a silver medal for best newspaper website at the Asian Digital Media awards.
NZ Herald editor Jeremy Rees says the changes aim to give the top area a cleaner look and "integrate social media into the heart of our news".
And the design tweaks, led by Max Flanigan, nzherald.co.nz's senior product manager, include:
- Bringing Twitter and Facebook into our Latest News and Most Popular application.
- Overhauling the look and function of the navigation bar to make it easier to find at a glance the main stories in the top sections.
- Giving more emphasis to the lead story.
- Lifting up bloggers and columnists into our top stories area.
- Giving more options to display latest and most popular news, photos and video.
“The homepage is now a more interesting and engaging place," says APN Online general manager and nzherald.co.nz publisher, Spencer Bailey. "Whilst we continue to lead with the breaking news and the top stories of the day, we really wanted to encourage comment and debate; to get people discussing what matters to them. The changes mean we’re now able to feature Your Views, columnists and bloggers in a prime spot at the top of the homepage."
There is also now a tool which allows readers to keep up with the latest news and filter content to suit their preferences – including the most recent tweets from the @nzherald Twitter account, video, photos and the most popular stories.
“One of the most striking parts of this project involves a redesign of our navigation menu across the site. This helps us to promote the depth of content available and provide editor’s picks in each of the key sections, allowing readers to more easily stay in touch with what's new and what's important.”
Despite the changes, it seems the old version was pretty good as it was after it took home a silver in the best newspaper website category at the WAN-IRFA Asian Digital Media Awards, which were entered by more than 50 media companies from 13 countries. It was one of only four winners in the top category from across the Asia Pacific region and was second behind the Wall Street Journal Asia.
But wait there's more: the NZ Herald iPad App also took home a bronze at the awards. And APN Online New Zealand was the only media company in New Zealand and Australia to receive an award.
“We’re proud to be recognised amongst the best," says Bailey. "We’re constantly looking to improve our products and to drive innovation in the digital media arena, and these award wins reflect that commitment.”
Thomas Jacob, deputy chief executive of WAN-IFRA and managing director for Greater Asia Pacific says: “With digital media's evolution gathering pace, publishers and media owners are looking for business models and best practices. The award-winning pioneers not only prove themselves to be the best in Asia Pacific, but also become role models for others to emulate.”