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006: Local Newspaper (2010)

Design and development

Two days after Design 005, here’s #006: a re-work of the Coral Gables Tribune, a free weekly newspaper distributed at retail stores in the area. The current site for the newspaper uses a Flash component to display the print version of the newspaper in exact page-by-page detail, including pages of ads. The Flash version of the paper is displayed too small to read easily, and the “zoom” function only makes things slightly better. The challenge for me was to create a more reader-friendly layout, while still letting the newspaper sell ads both in its paper and on its website. To solve the advertising problem, I created a vertical column on the right side of the design to hold 125×125 pixel ads. This size is smaller than the ads the site currently offers, but I feel this is offset by the positioning of the ads directly next to the content, rather than at the very bottom of the site. The redesign has space for five of these ads. To solve the readability problem, I changed the central content area into a photo index of the issue’s ten top stories. The featured story gets a wider display area, and the remaining nine form a grid underneath. Furthermore, the “Community News” section, generally found in the middle of the paper, gets a sidebar on the left for excerpts from the first few stories, with a link to the full community news section. The site’s original horizontal navigation at the top of the site was transformed into three lists of links each in the header. This groups the links by type, and also echoes the grid structure of the article photos underneath. Finally, I kept the grid layout for the paper’s eight columnists below the main content area, but tweaked the layout a bit to give it a more open look. There is slightly more spacing between each columnist’s grid space, and I got rid of the large borders around each grid space as well.

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