It’s my privilege to welcome you to the latest iteration of DeseretNews.com — our readers’ new online home for the news, perspective, commentary, analysis and feature stories they come back for day after day.
Why the change?
The last time we overhauled the design of DeseretNews.com was in 2012. In the ensuing years, many changes have come to the web, including smarter, faster code and responsive design, which allows a website to work well on screens of all sizes. We use these and other improved technologies to deliver a faster and more reliable experience for readers on both computers and mobile devices.
The move to mobile is accelerating. Already, more than half of DeseretNews.com readers access our content on their phones. Along with updating our design and modernizing our code, we aimed to present a better, more intuitive and more consistent experience on mobile phones and tablets.
You can love the Deseret News and still be uncertain about this new design
For our most loyal readers who check DeseretNews.com several times a day or multiple times per week, this change may feel jarring. It will definitely take some getting used to.
In 2003, when I was working and attending graduate school in Washington, D.C., I heard a speaker play a memorable trick on an audience.
At the time, construction was underway on the National World War II Memorial. Some people were vocally opposed to its design and prominent location on the National Mall. The speaker, who was filming a documentary about the monument’s construction, read quotes from people who said the aesthetics of the monument were so poor and its placement was so ill-fitting that it would permanently mar the beauty of the U.S. capital city.
The trick was this: the statements he read were not at all about the new monument, but rather about the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial — monuments that Americans and visitors from other countries have come to cherish. As each new monument came along, it faced some initial opposition that usually faded over time.
Now, I know that a news website is nowhere near the equivalent of a national monument. Still, this story offers an instructive lesson, at least for me. Changes to something we love may feel grating, but in time, we may actually come to value and possibly embrace them. (Here’s hoping!)
The best news: DeseretNews.com will get even better over time
We subscribe to a paradigm of continuous and incremental improvement. During our beta-testing period, we found dozens of bugs and made many fixes and changes to our design and code. With your help, we will find and fix even more. We can and will make this site better.
Comments from our readers
We are deeply grateful to our loyal readers, whether they read the Deseret News in print, in a browser or on our highly rated mobile app.
Here’s some of the feedback we received from readers during our beta-testing period.
- I like the beta layout. It is easier to read, cleaner, simpler. Kudos to the design team for a huge improvement.
- The "new" (beta) version of Deseret News is cool and crisp (worthy of Five Stars), and I really appreciate the beehive logo!
- Tried your Beta site on my phone. Story pages look and feel great. The side menu is snappy.
- The page looks good and clean, and I like that there is still a list of articles to scan below the main ones.
- Love the new format! Much easier on the eyes.
- I think you are finally on the right road to having a great website.
- This is wonderful. Very modern and exciting. I'll be using this as long as it's available.
- The only thing I would change is the spacing of the lines. The text of the story begins about half an inch below the first line and then ends a quarter of an inch before the line that divides the story from the author's bio. (Fixed)
- The beta design is way too spaced out. (We’ve made some fixes to address this, with more to come)
- I would like a feature added that when I follow an article to read from the list, and then I click back to return to the list I would like the scroll to go back where I was. (Fixed)
- The new design buries the news under a bunch of photos and giant headlines.
- Don't like it!
- The new look is not an improvement.
- As the old saying goes: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
- I like the old site better.
We appreciate your feedback and promise to keep working to improve your online experience with the Deseret News.
Please accept our thanks
As always, we thank you for reading the Deseret News however and whenever you do. We know you have many choices for where to get news, and we are proud to be part of your daily media diet. We hope you will count on DeseretNews.com to keep you informed so that you can continue to make a big difference in your family and community.
Let us know what you think
To share your constructive thoughts and ideas for improving our new site, leave a comment below or send an email to [email protected].
Burke Olsen is the general manager of Deseret News Digital, where he oversees content, websites and apps. You can contact him at [email protected]