November 19, 2013

The Wire

News aggregator The Atlantic Wire has dropped the longest word from its name and rebranded itself as The Wire alongside the launch of a new responsive website.

Like a few other recent high-profile redesigns (see NPR), The Wire’s homepage looks perfect on a mobile phone, to the detriment of the desktop experience. Where The Wire’s top stories are bright and inviting with a clear hierarchy on my iPhone, on the desktop they’re tossed into a haphazard grid muddled with black headline boxes and colored stripes that feel more like decoration than navigational tools.

At the story level, too, The Wire’s much more restrained on a phone. On a desktop browser, the reader is bombarded with links to more stories. But with no real estate for that on mobile, the experience is much more pleasant and less in-your-face. (Mobile now accounts for 40 percent of The Wire’s audience, editor-in-chief Gabriel Snyder writes in his introduction to the redesign.)

As for the new name, Capital New York reports it took some work to secure that domain, with Atlantic Media paying “over five and less than seven figures.” The name-shortening of the site, which reaches a younger demographic than other Atlantic properties, is a play for new kinds of advertising — although at launch Cadillac is occupying banner-ad space.

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Sam Kirkland is Poynter's digital media fellow, focusing on mobile and social media trends. Previously, he worked at the Chicago Sun-Times as a digital editor,…
Sam Kirkland

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