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New Look for <i>New Wave</i>

February 24, 2010 1:30 AM
New Wave staff newwave@tulane.edu

At the start of this year New Wave implemented one of its larger modifications since its inception in 2005. Now the Tulane news site is looking for feedback from its readers about the new features.

"We significantly changed the form and function of the daily e-mail message, the front page, the articles and even the archive," says Carol Schlueter, executive director of publications and editor of New Wave. "The bulk of the design decisions were based on reader responses from surveys and feedback that we received."

Schlueter explains that the decisions required careful consideration, such as the need to eliminate photos from the e-mail message to accommodate readers using hand-held devices. "We knew that some people would miss the photos in the e-mail, but we also wanted to recognize the growing number of readers who use iPhones," she says.

Other changes had consensus. Schlueter says most readers wanted the e-mail headlines to directly link to the article pages instead of to the New Wave front page.

Readers also wanted improvements for sharing and searching articles. Now, each story page has a "share" button at the top for readers to e-mail articles or send them to social networks such as Twitter or Facebook. Also, all articles and photo features are now individually archived.

"There were many factors in implementing the redesign," says Schlueter. "We had to combine perspectives from our editorial and web production team, research best practices, consider our readers' opinions and then make it all work with the current technology. In the end, ideas converged to create the improved look."

The numbers agree. In January, the number of visits to the New Wave site was up by 33 percent compared to the previous year, and the number of subscribers to the daily e-mail was nearing 25,000.

To provide your feedback, click here for a New Wave survey.