LA Times rethinks mobile news consumption with new responsive site
By Chantal Tode
May 6, 2014
The LA Times' new responsive site
The Los Angeles Times debuts a mobile-first responsive design site today that features endless scrolling, multi-direction navigation and seamless pathing as the publisher looks to jettison old-fashioned Web concepts in favor of creating a reading experience with the mobile user in mind.
The new site is sponsored by Etihad Airways, which is providing three days of unlimited access to readers. According to the LA Times, the site is one of the largest fully responsive news sites ever built.
“The new latimes.com is one of the largest fully-responsive news sites ever built, and we believe what’s unique and different from other sites will be evident when people begin to use it – everything from the navigation to endless scrolling, in-line and in-context photo galleries/video/related content to Visual Browse, sharelines and our Neighborhoods feature, which pulls together geocoded neighborhood-level news and dining information as well as crime stats,” said Spencer Alcorn, manager of communications at The LA Times, Los Angeles.
“All of these things combine to create an experience that is as engaging and dynamic as our journalism itself,” he said.
Responsive design is a strategy for delivering Web content across multiple devices without the need for building multiples sites. It has been catching on with some marketers, particularly publishers.
The site was built with the intention of engaging users as news stories break and build.
The user experience is consistent across devices and desktops, featuring in-line and in-context video, photo galleries and story collections.
A screenshot of the new site
In deference to how readers search for news, the site treats article pages as entry points as valuable as the homepage.
Features include a photo-centric browsing option that is accessible on all section fronts and a new local feature pulling in neighborhood-level geocoded news and dining information as well as crime data.
Additionally, the site has endless scrolling and multi-directional navigation with an eye toward eradicating Web concepts such as “the fold,” “the jump,” “endless clicking” and “the dead end.”
There is also seamless pathing, which takes users from one piece of content to the next. Section fronts and article pages are anchored by a row of thumbnails that automatically transport readers to related coverage or other sections. Article page slide-out panels offer further content discovery and commentary.
Other features include multiple quick-review and micro-sharing options, including at-a-glance “sharelines,” pull quotes and photos.
Mobile-first advertising opportunities are also built-in, including a new responsive ad unit and browsing features that incorporate native advertising and sponsored content.
“The new latimes.com was conceived as mobile-first,” Mr. Alcorn said.
“There are many new features we’re excited about, but we think Visual Browse, sharelines and Neighborhoods are stand-outs, on top of the overall seamless and endless flow of content from one piece of journalism to the next,” he said.
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York
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