Website Redesign

I chose to redesign a website for this homework assignment that I personally want to see improve. Not only would I like it to look better just for aesthetic purposes, but I want it to function better for its readers. I chose to redesign the website for ABC affiliate KDRV Newswatch 12 in Medford, Oregon. I spent my first three years in the tv news business reporting and anchoring at Channel 12. It’s a great station. The people there genuinely care about putting out a helpful, topical, informational product for viewers in Southern Oregon. And their website does not do their hard work justice.

I’ll start with the mock ups. I had a little fun with it just because I know how much it can improve. All the information is there, it’s just badly organized, layed out poorly and makes it hard to find things which likely frustrates the user.

Homepage Redesign Annotations

The homepage needs the most work. The second most, the Community Page. This page is especially important in a small town market. Most of the time, people are visiting a tv news site for something they saw on tv or to learn about events and happenings in their part of the region. If it’s difficult to find something, most readers will give up and not visit the site again. The idea would be to guide them to what they’re looking for and offer them alternative headlines, videos and multimedia pieces to enjoy once they find what they’re looking for. This page does not accomplish that, as you can see.

Community Page Annotations

My final critique is of the station’s political page. I considered analyzing a story page but for the most part those were laid out simply and effectively. KDRV prides itself on having the best political coverage of any news outlet in Southern Oregon and Northern California. So to see their political page filled with daily content, not relating to politics is disappointing. And to have the stories listed instead of highlighted lost me as a reader. Here are my notes:

Political Page Annotations

KDRV is in the 140th Nielsen Market. I pulled some websites for stations of similar size, with comparable audience size, staff capability and format. KCBD is the NBC affiliate in Lubbock, Texas. The first thing I noticed about their site was the bold use of color and the obnoxious text in the columns flanking the site. I think they pull away from the content. The site is very busy and far too long. But for all that they have on the homepage, KCBD is laid out well. I especially like the navigation bar with the tabs for the topics and, I suspect, the most visited links by viewers in the sub-nav bar. The colors in the banner all go together even though there’s way too much in there. And the ads on the right hand side of the page are interspersed with content. They handle the content above the fold well with a scrolling video player and multimedia slideshows and features, which may be unique content on the web. The footer is massive, but easy to navigate.

KCBD's homepage, as an example

Northland’s News covers the Duluth, MN market. Its site is a bit busy as well. But what they do well is navigation. If you hover over any of the tabs, the page previews and you can scroll down to view the content. The banner is done well, although I’d argue the search box is too large. My favorite part of the site that I think KDRV could benefit from is the mini banner that lets viewers know the latest headline. In this example, the station chose to make the mini banner red. However, checking back, the next day’s headline was in gray to blend into the site. Use of color is done well on Northland’s site. KDRV could use color to break up sections of its homepage as well.

NBC Duluth, MN for example

Finally, and possibly most relevant is KDRV’s main competition, KTVL the CBS affiliate in Medford, Oregon. Their site is far superior. Their product on air is not. Again, I have a biased opinion. But I know from a objective perspective that KTVL’s site is easier to read, easier to use and nicer to look at. The banner is organized well. They used the exact idea I had for displaying the weather graphically on the right side of the banner. As weather is important to farmers in this market, they have a quick view of the weather graphically, but users can also watch the weather forecast just below it for more information. Their social media links are on the banner as well, including the RSS feed. KTVL breaks up the site regionally, which is a unique idea that KDRV could consider.

KTVL homepage for example

So it’s now time for me to wireframe what I think would work best for the Newswatch 12 site…I started the old school way:

Homepage Old School Mock-UpOld School Wireframe










Then, I came to my senses, watched a few tutorials to get a basic Photoshop proficiency and made this rudimentary graphic wireframe for the home and community pages of the KDRV site. This is the home page:

Homepage Wireframe

This is the Community Page:

Wireframe of Community Page

These are the final results from my work in Photoshop. I did not know it before now but learned a lot in laying out these two pages. Some details in my wireframe for the homepage did not make it in based on space. I was hoping to have thumbnails beneath the main video player. But as I lack the space without misshaping the main player, I chose to use scrolling headlines to the right of the player instead. In the social networking box in the mid-right portion of the page, I thought a constantly updating twitter feed of the station’s news team would help gain viewers interest and gain the station followers on its social networking sites. I left the search field out of the navigation bar and chose instead to add a ‘story links’ category. This is to hold the links of information viewers are constantly looking for that are mentioned in stories.

Homepage Redesign

The community page needed improvement but what I did simply organizes it for each region. Right now, on the community page, KDRV offers links to each city’s already established website. This offers viewers the option of choosing a region, tweeting #nw12+their region acronym to see what their neighbors are tweeting. They can access a calendar of events that once clicked, will expand to a layout like a google calendar they can subscribe to. In small towns, sports news is big and oftentimes there is more footage gathered at high school games than can be put on air. This would be the perfect place to display content and gather story ideas from the different regions in the viewing area.

Community Page Redesign

As I learn more about Photoshop, I’d like to add more color gradients as well as shadow to give the site some depth. But you get the basic idea I’ve had for the site. It makes it much more simple, but easy to navigate. It is a bit lacking in ad space, but as shown in the wireframe, I think a simple graphic in the header would be able to live alongside an ad in the right portion of the banner.





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09 2011

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