APN takes Parallax path as part of online revamp for NZ Herald

APN has made a swag of changes to nzherald.co.nz, including a Parallax-based microsite for special editions and topics.

Using the design technique, images in the background move more slowly than those in the foreground, creating a sense of depth when users scroll through content.

APN wants to use Parallax more in future, possibly for event and feature coverage or investigations, although it doesn’t “currently have anything mapped out”, says general manager of digital Spencer Bailey.

“It’s just a very good way of telling a story from more of a visual perspective,” he says. “In a way it’s less of a news site and more of a deep dive into a feature or an event.

“We can incorporate video and very large, powerful, multiple images.”

The site also includes a redesigned article page with links to associated content and features, as well as more embedded multi-media content. That page also has a refreshed right sidebar with display boxes that can be customised with content based on where users enter the site and topics they search for.

Another key addition is the content timeline, or story arc, which includes related articles, videos and images that let users track a developing issue.

“Often there’ll be a major story and so often you have to hunt for how it unfolded. Now you can actually look back at the story,” Bailey says. “We’re holding ourselves to account to a degree.”

The look of the article page has change further with the removal of the 460×400 ‘super rec’ ad, which will now only be used on section pages.

“The Super Rec ad isn’t really an IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) standard,” says Bailey. “It’s limited from an article page perspective in terms of what else you can do with that page. We’re basically putting a massive road block half way through the story, even though you put a big sign post saying, ‘story continues below’.”

He says there are a number of IAB standard ad options on the article page. The bottom of the page houses ‘special offers’, a carousel of booked ads that rotates every 10 seconds, along with ‘relevant offers’, which are contextually targeted using keywords, tags and content ID.

The whole redesign was done in house, says Bailey, adding more functionality and features will be added in the next three months.

APN is trying to offer more relevant content and advertising, and over time will increasingly use behavioural targeting, says Bailey.

Content delivered when users click ‘view more’ is driven by user behaviour.

When commenting, users can now choose a side in a debate over a story by labelling their comment blue or red.

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