Highlighting issues and increasing readership
California education news reaches a wider audience
EdSource has a great reputation among policymakers for in-depth research reporting, but most website visitors would come for one story and then leave. EdSource believed many readers were missing out on relevant stories because the site design made it hard to see anything but the most recent news feed. The organization came to Blue Marble looking to widen its reach with a more accessible and engaging online format.
EdSource had already given their situation a lot of thought and initial research. We helped them dive deeper into discussions about information architecture and content hierarchy, which are critical aspects for a news site. It was important to balance the presentation of shorter stories that are typically more widely appealing with showcasing the robust research reporting for which EdSource is known.
Color and whitespace were used to distinguish major topic areas and increase the scanability and readability of the pages. The commenting feature was redesigned to encourage reader discussion through a friendlier, cleaner experience, eliminate spamming and ease administration. We we also redeveloped the search functionality to produce accurate and thorough results for staff and readers alike. We took great care to map the styles and content categories of the old site to the new one so that migration of thousands of past articles was an efficient, accurate and nearly seamless process.
Most importantly we built the new site with a customized content management system that would make website administration frustration-free for staff, even those without much technical experience. Special editors, user-specific plug-ins, and content categorizations allow for clearly organized content areas on the back-end.
EdSource has seen a measurable increase in retention on the site and increased traffic.
- Staff reporters feel empowered to publish their articles and use a pre-determined set of styles and formatting to ensure consistent presentation.
- The site is built responsively so that it delivers a positive experience for mobile, tablet, and desktop users.
- The new site search allows readers and staff to make accurate and thorough content queries.
- The new look and feel has modernized EdSource’s image and brought into alignment readers’ perceptions of the organization with the reality of EdSource’s work on the leading edge of education news coverage.
A dynamic site with actively engaged readership requires ongoing support to maintain optimal performance and build out new features. We are also working with EdSource to update other digital publication channels.