Sometimes looks do matter

Photo by Bob Daemmrich

We’re all about serious journalism here at The Texas Tribune. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. But we also care about how our serious journalism looks.

Take TribTalk.

Last year, after we hatched the idea for an opinion site, our talented art team went to work on determining what it should look like. Because we were building the site from scratch, they’d get an opportunity to let their creative juices flow. It would also give the Tribune a place to experiment with new design features and functionality, some of which might one day migrate over to our main site.

The result? You’re looking at it: cleaner article pages, bigger images, vibrant colors and a simple, intuitive navigation system.

We think the cleaner page design — with one collapsible navigation menu on the left — makes for an easier, less distracting reading experience. Our larger, wide-aspect image format allows us to showcase richer photography, a vital storytelling element. Those larger, wider images also render better on mobile devices, which we knew was how many — if not most — of our readers would be visiting the site.

You've no doubt noticed that we've branded TribTalk with a vivid green rather than the Tribune's trademark yellow. That was part of an effort to give TribTalk its own identity while also lending it a little flair.

You’ve probably also noticed by now that after you’ve read an article, all you have to do to discover other content is scroll up or down. This “infinite scroll” drops readers right into our chronological stream of content — an important feature at a time when more people every day are accessing news content not through a site’s homepage but through Facebook, Twitter and Google.

Still, despite pronouncements within the news industry, we think it’s far too early to call the homepage dead, at least at the Tribune. Traffic to the TribTalk homepage, in fact, has increased by 26 percent over the past month.

The search for good web design — something both fetching and functional — is nothing new, and we’re not done figuring out what works and what doesn’t. But we think we’re onto something here. Agree? Let us know in the comments or shoot us an email at [email protected]. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

David Muto

Editor of TribTalk