From the editor: Testing a new look for SteamboatToday.com | SteamboatToday.com

From the editor: Testing a new look for SteamboatToday.com

From the Editor

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Beginning at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, SteamboatToday.com's home page will look a little different when you access it from your desktop or smartphone.

Instead of the carousel design that gives readers the option to click through nine stories at the top of the page, you'll now see a larger main story as well as two stories to the right of the main story and two additional stories below it.

We are testing this new design, in part, because of some of the feedback we received from our 2017 Readers Survey, which showed a slight decrease in satisfaction with our website.

Steamboat Today launched a new website in May 2017, and it has received mixed reviews. In the fall, we conducted a Local Readers Survey and a Visitor and Second Homeowner Survey, and when asked to rate the quality of our website, 52 percent of visitors/second homeowners ranked it as above average or excellent and 24 percent ranked it as average. By comparison, only 32 percent of locals ranked SteamboatToday.com as above average or excellent with 32 percent rating it as average and 24 percent saying it is fair or needs attention.

Readers also submitted comments through the surveys that expressed frustration with finding top news stories on the site. Some of you noted that it was difficult to find content on the carousel, and others said our design required a lot of work by the reader to access an article. Some readers wanted an easier way to see all of the articles at once, and others said navigating through content on the site was difficult.

In other words, the survey results showed us our website could stand to be improved, so we're testing this new design to determine whether it's more user-friendly and results in more people reading our stories online. That's a metric we'll be able to track and that data will help us decide whether or not the new story display is working by prompting more audience engagement.

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One of the goals of this home page redesign is to give readers access to more stories at first glance. Under the carousel design, readers had to click through nine articles on the carousel to see the latest stories. And in order to help our readers find the content they're looking for, we often post those same articles to the headlines section to the right of the carousel as well.

With the new design, readers can see 15 stories at one glance, and there will be no need to duplicate content. We'll also have the ability to highlight five of our top stories at one time rather than just one.

Our goal in introducing a new look for the SteamboatToday.com home page is simple. We want to make it easy for our valued readers to find our stories and we're hoping the new design will create a more user-friendly experience.

I'd love to receive feedback on the change, and you can email me with your thoughts at lschlichtman@steamboattoday.com.
To reach Lisa Schlichtman, call 970-871-4221, email lschlichtman@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @LSchlichtman.

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