May 6, 2014 Last Updated 8:56 am

Los Angeles Times launches new mobile-first responsive website

The Los Angeles Times launched a new responsive website this morning. Like the previous redesign of a Tribune Company website at the Chicago Tribune, the new site is mobile-first, displaying very little content “above the fold” on a desktop or tablet, but introducing new, modern navigation bars to drive readers to the news sections.

LATimes-web-lg“Our mission was to raise the standard for digital news and create a site that truly engages users as stories break and build,” said Times Editor Davan Maharaj. “The new latimes.com is as dynamic as our journalism and our readers. The visually striking, bold design highlights our unique voices, investigative and enterprise endeavors, as well as breaking news and multimedia.”

Building a responsive website is common practice for all news organizations, but what is interesting is to design for mobile-first, making design decisions that one knows will lead to a less than optimal experience for desktop readers. Other papers, such as The New York Times, for instance, still give mobile readers a website where the front page remains as seen on a desktop or tablet, then moves to a mobile-first site when the reader taps on a news story.

LAT-iPhone5-lgThe new site launches with a nicely designed introduction to the new site which features a number of animations spotlighting the news features. Maharaj’s short introduction column highlights some of the features:

• A navigation bar on the left to guide you to favorite sections.
• Neighborhood pages to find the news near you.
• An intuitive visual display that allows you to browse stories using photographs and graphics.
• Seamless scrolling from one story or section to the next.

“In building the new site, the L.A. Times radically rethought how design and technology affect the consumption and delivery of news, information and advertising,” Emily Smith, The Times’ Senior Vice President, Digital, said in the newspaper’s announcement for the new site yesterday. “The result is a truly exceptional platform, built to expand sales opportunities and alternative revenue streams, and to adapt to future distribution models.”

The LA Times also released updates for its mobile and tablet apps today with the app descriptions simply stating “new look and feel” for the changes.

The owner of the Tribune Company still plans to spinoff its newspaper properties, but the move has not stopped moves such as the redesigned website. Late last week the Baltimore Sun Media Group announced it had acquired Capital Gazette Communications, publisher of The Capital (Annapolis, Maryland) and the Maryland Gazette, from Landmark Media Enterprises LLC.

Here is the promotional video for the new website. I recommend turning down the volume on your device before playing:

  • Kurt Schlatzer 3 years ago

    Looks aren’t everything. Performance matters too: http://www.webpagetest.org/result/140506_11_RB3/. Their primary ad provider is killing their performance. Kudos to the designer(s), shame on the developers.

  • Dave 3 years ago

    Being primarly a desk top user, I think the new site is terrible. Even as a mobile user, it still stinks. i would suggest having two web sites, but I noticed there is no contactme on the new web site. I’ll bet that was no accident. Oh well, that is why I use Google news, not newspaper web sites any longer.