NewsNet updates image with fresh design

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NewsNet”s newly designed Web site, launched on Nov. 1, features many changes to better serve its audience.

NewsNet Web Editor Stephenson Beck said the new design that launches today is not only graphically pleasing but also more user-friendly.

At the homepage of http://newsnet.byu.edu, viewers will find more color, graphics and photos, access to recent articles, a section devoted to audio/video clips and Web casts, links to other media sites — including news at BYU-Idaho and BYU-Hawaii — and even a weather update.

Even with more high-tech graphics and images, the time it takes to bring up the screen should not change from before.

“We want the site to download as fast as possible,” said Matthew Carlson, 23, the redesign”s architect, and a senior from Fairfax, Va., majoring in media arts with an emphasis in multimedia design.

NewsNet”s former Web site has been named the best college online news site by Editor & Publisher three years running. Most recently, the site claimed the National Online Pacemaker Award on Saturday, Oct. 27.

“The Web site wins awards, and we could sit on that,” Beck said. “But we know we could do better.”

Carlson said he thinks the Web site wins awards because of its content. The design of the Web site makes a difference in whether a story is read or video is watched, Carlson said.

“In the news industry, no one wants to read a story that”s boring,” he said. “If you have a boring Web site, no one wants to read the stories.”

When Carlson was hired this past summer to redesign the site, he said he took one look at the page and knew it was time to make a change.

The pages were static and looked the same, Carlson said.

Carlson”s chief priority: making navigation on the Web site easier. Instead of searching through several links to get to a desired page, the new site displays eye-catching icons which make it easier to find what the user needs, Carlson said.

Stories, which are updated throughout the day, can be scanned and accessed from the home page without wading through sports, lifestyles or a campus section, Beck said.

Templates have been added to allow for more photos, said Tavis Bennett, Web programmer. On the former Web site, only one photo could go with a story. Now there is the capacity to place several photos with a story on the web, Beck said.

A separate section was designed to host all video clips and Web casts, rather than forcing users to search through individual stories to find multimedia clips.

Redesigning NewsNet”s Web site interested Carlson because it was the only Web site he has worked on that combines all forms of media.

The Web site has been designed so if users want to find out what President Bush said in a speech, they can get on NewsNet”s Web site and access the text, the audio and video, photos and a radio story all in one location, he said.

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