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Redesigning 'On Line Opinion' together

By Graham Young and Susan Prior - posted Monday, 20 February 2006


Dear readers,

You’ve spoken, and we have listened. In our reader survey last year you told us that you thought we could do better with breadth and interest of material and the readability and usability of the site. To do something about the first we have to modify the second, and today’s new look is the first draft.

Have a look at the changes, and let us know what you think by going to the questionnaire here. While the changes are a response to your feedback, they’re not the last word. Being an Internet publication we have the unique possibility of redesigning our environment collaboratively. There’s no big investment in new printing pressesand so on - we can innovate just by changing some code.

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In our survey 26 per cent of respondents mentioned display and format issues, and much the most common comment was that readers wanted more information on the front page than just the headline. We’ve accommodated that request.

The new-look page has more of a magazine layout. Each day the newest articles appear in the top section with a brief description of the article so you can tell at a glance if it is going to be something of interest to you.

We have retained the boxes telling you which articles are the most popular and which are the most commented on so you can see where all the action is happening.

We also now have a splash of colour by way of a space dedicated to cartoons. Today’s is provided by John Ditchburn of INKCINCT Cartoons. Others will be provided by Peter Nicholson. Please click on the links to our cartoonists’ sites and take a look, and make sure you buy something from them. We are very grateful to them for generously agreeing to allow us to showcase their work, and we’d hope they’d get a return from this generosity.

By having sections below the fold we’ve also provided the opportunity to publish more than the five or six headline articles each day. These sections can include news not in the top stories section so that we can start to meet the demand for more material.

It also means that instead of a long and difficult-to-read list of the last three weeks’ articles, we now have the main sections (including their subsections) with the latest three articles in each.

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The back catalogue still remains and there are plenty of different ways to search it.

The easiest is to go to the Google search bar at the top right and insert the term or author’s name you are looking for. To search individual sections you can either search using the left hand menu or the headers in the bottom half of the page. We now have over 4,000 articles all accessible from on the site making On Line Opinion a unique repository of opinion and commentary spanning the last six years.

Thanks for your involvement in this project. We do listen to all the advice we get, and when we can, we do something about it. And don’t forget collaboration doesn’t stop here. After you’ve had a chance to sample the new layout, please click this link and fill-in our feedback form.

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About the Authors

Graham Young is chief editor and the publisher of On Line Opinion. He is executive director of the Australian Institute for Progress, an Australian think tank based in Brisbane, and the publisher of On Line Opinion.

Susan Prior is a former editor of On Line Opinion. She now works as a freelance writer and editor for Write-now! (www.write-now.com.au), and regularly posts interesting writing, editing and publishing snippets on her Write-now! Facebook page.

Other articles by these Authors

All articles by Graham Young
All articles by Susan Prior

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Graham YoungGraham YoungPhoto of Susan PriorSusan Prior
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