The New York Times has redesigned its website to make it both easier to read, and easier for advertisers to place branded content.
The changes, which come into play on 8 January 2014 and affect both desktop and mobile versions of the site, are detailed on a dedicated section of the site.
There are no radical changes to the graphics. The website will keep its minimal and iconic style but is now easier to read.
The key change is the introduction of ‘native advertising’ or branded content to the website. These are advertisements that are designed to look similar to the news articles they sit alongside. Several news outlets are introducing this content, in an attempt to generate revenue from the web, but there are fears that their presence confuses and misleads readers. Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. promises that journalistic and promotional content will be clearly separated from editorial copy, and a stories containing paid for advertising will be clearly marked as “Paid Content.”
Promotional content will appear on multimedia channels too. The New York Times says it will include “narrative, video and data visualization”. Texts will be written by the NY Times advertising staff – for which the newspaper is currently hiring – but some job cuts may also be on the agenda.
The NYC-based newspaper also promises a “sleeker, faster and more intuitive” site with a more “immersive” reading experience.
Readers will now be able to read articles simply by scrolling from the top to the bottom, without having to click on a ‘read more’ button that often breaks the flow.
The website sections will be more easily accessible from each page in order to provide a continuous reading experience and to increase the linkability among articles. The new website is presenting itself as a continuum of content, providing readers with tools to create personal routes among articles.
The site will also build on its long tradition of promoting photojournalism: something it has done through the site and newspaper, as well as through dedicated sections like Lens blog. The new website will focus more on images, providing more pictures and in more formats. Readers will also be able to enlarge pictures while reading an article.
The New York Times also says it wants to focus more on breaking news.
Breaking news will appear on every page of the site, on top, proving an “alert” service. The site will also give readers instant access to relevant archived materials, with more links to “related stories” with a horizontal scroll appearing in every page.
This article was translated by the author from the Italian “Come cambia il sito del New York Times“