The last time The New York Times embarked on a wholesale redesign of its Web site, in 2006, the iPhone wasn’t on the market. Tablets like the iPad were still years away.
So the new design that The Times is unveiling Wednesday is generating much interest within the journalism industry, both for what it says about The Times and about the future of online publishing.
For visitors to NYTimes.com, it will be obvious “that we’ve redesigned our article pages and restyled our homepage and section fronts to provide a cleaner, more engaging user experience,” said Denise Warren, the executive vice president of the digital products and services group at The Times.
What won’t be obvious is this: behind the curtain, there is a whole new publishing and technology system. “This allows us to continually iterate on the site and take advantage of new technology trends as they happen, so instead of seeing major redesigns in the future, users will see more incremental changes over time,” Warren said.
While the refreshed home page and article pages retain some of the feel of the print newspaper, the redesign highlights the fact that, as the well-respected news media analyst Ken Doctor put it, “digital publishing is getting to be the main publishing system of the Times, with print becoming a niche, if still a very big one.”