On Wednesday, The Washington Post unveiled the last piece in a site-wide redesign – the homepage.
“The new homepage marks a key milestone in the site-wide reboot led by The Post’s engineering and news teams, one that has been driven by the in-house development of a new publishing platform called Arc,” the Post said in a press release.
So what’s different about it now?
“We actually tried not to make it super different,” said Joey Marburger, director of digital products and design.
The homepage is now more modern, he said, easier to scan and more visual. And what you can’t see may be one of the more important changes.
“The term people use a lot is more dynamic,” Marburger said. “Really what that means for us is we can manipulate and change the homepage faster, at the true pace of news.”
The old homepage was rigid and production-heavy. The new homepage has the ability to change quickly depending on the news. Because of that, “it’s not like every few years we have to step back and say ‘OK guys, we’re behind on the Internet again, lets redo this for the 20th time.’ We want to avoid that.”
From the press release:
With the launch of the new homepage, The Post’s site is now entirely on the Arc platform, which was custom built to meet the needs of the modern newsroom. Developed by engineers who embedded with editors, Arc’s sophisticated site layout engine, PageBuilder, offers an intuitive production environment that creates a fast and efficient designs. When editors are working in PageBuilder, they view the webpage just as a reader would see it, letting them add or edit a feature on that page with one click. Editors can create story templates, publish updates and adjust headlines and text with ease. It also gives editors the flexibility to create different presentations that are specific to a story, all with the reader in mind.
Inspiration for the design came from the print front page, Marburger said. The Post wanted the ability to emphasize bigger stories the way A1 does and not have everything basically scale the same. The print design team helped with the process.
“The print edition has had hundreds of years of evolution for design, so we should definitely look at that for inspiration,” Marburger said.
“Also, it’s totally responsive, so that’s a big deal for us,” he said. “Even though it’s a little passé at this point, that’s a big change, too.”
A lot of people around the newsroom came together for the redesign, Marburger said, and they’re watching traffic and data during the next few days and weeks to see if they got it right.