The Atlantic bucks recent website trends by launching new, more dense home page design
The new home page redesign for the magazine also includes a new video ad unit called IMPACT+ HD, with Sony signing up to be the exclusive launch partner
The Atlantic today unveiled a new website design, one that looks to increase the number of news stories that appear at first glance at the home page, a reflection of the fact that the magazine has increased the number of stories it produces in any given day, becoming more like a news organization under the influence of editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg, previously a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine.
“In April 2015, we launched an entirely new, visually arresting homepage, which represented a substantial improvement over the previous homepage,” Goldberg wrote today.
“Within a month of the launch, our team was already thinking of ways to make the homepage better, to help it keep up with the faster pace, the rising quality, and the ever-greater volume of our journalism. The redesigned homepage we are launching today is the product of this two-year rethink, and of an immense amount of hard work by our designers, editors, and developers, the best in our business.”
It is safe to say that I think it is a great move.
Many news organizations have moved in the opposite direction, with many looking to create new home pages with fewer stories, more in the design philosophy of many new media brands. Newspapers such as Gannett and Tribune Publishing (now tronc) launched website home page designs that were cleaner, but also failed to reflect the range of content that a reader would find available. They essentially buried the news (while simultaneously cluttering up the actual stories with pop-ups and takeovers that readers so despise).
One interesting choice is the lack of advertising seen ‘above the fold’ on the home page, as seen via a desktop computer. A few years ago I might have accused The Atlantic of playing to its editorial side at the expense the ad team. But the fact of the matter is that so many readers are accessing a media outlet’s website home page via mobile today that how a home page appears on desktop might not be the top priority. And even if it is, the reality is that anyone accessing a home page is there to browse a range of stories.
But the new home page does take into account advertising, introducing a new video ad unit called IMPACT+ HD.
Here is the press release announcement for the new home page. The graphic included does a good job of showing how the new page looks on different devices.
Washington, D.C. — May 18, 2017 — Welcome to the new TheAtlantic.com. This morning, The Atlantic introduced a redesigned homepage suited to the rapid pace of today’s news environment, while continuing to prioritize the characteristics and ideas-oriented journalism that have long distinguished The Atlantic. The homepage increases density—with twice as many stories now appearing at the top of the page—and prominently features The Atlantic’s writers in a new module to showcase their latest reporting.
The changes to TheAtlantic.com reflect The Atlantic’s evolving editorial and business ambitions of the past few years—a time marked by growth of reporting staff and volume of coverage, largely in science, tech, and health and politics and policy—and better meet the needs of a rapidly growing audience. Since the last redesign in April 2015, The Atlantic’s unique monthly audience has grown by 60 percent, hitting a record 33.7 million earlier this year. This week, The Atlantic set new records for single day and concurrent traffic to TheAtlantic.com, driven by its June magazine cover story, My Family’s Slave.
Introducing readers to the new homepage, The Atlantic’s Editor in Chief Jeffrey Goldberg writes: “This new density (miraculously, our designers managed to achieve it without diminishing clarity) goes a long way toward solving a key problem of ours, that of too much great journalism, coming out too fast. This is a caviar problem, to be sure. But figuring out what ought to be featured on the homepage at any given moment has not been an easy thing to do. This new design helps us feature more of our best work at once.
With the redesign, The Atlantic is also defining new standards for what constitutes the best in advertising. The Atlantic has launched an all-new video ad product, the IMPACT+ HD. Built by The Atlantic’s Ad Product team, the experience is faster-loading and optimized for viewability across platforms, providing the best reader experience and increasing performance for advertisers. Sony BRAVIA OLED TV, the exclusive launch partner for the TheAtlantic.com redesign, welcomes readers to the site with a custom homepage takeover and the new IMPACT+ HD unit.
Here’s what’s new:
- Double number of stories. The redesign doubles the number of stories on the top of the page. The site maintains hierarchy of importance, while giving readers more immediate options.
- Writers module. Because The Atlantic’s greatest assets are its writers, the new design makes their individual profiles and latest work more visible.
- River of news. The Atlantic brought a simple river back to the page to help frequent visitors find the newest reporting and stories they may have missed.
- Flexible curation. The ability for the homepage team to curate the page with our previous redesign gave them immense flexibility when it came to story emphasis and coverage. The redesign retains that feature while also reducing the complexity of the page below the fold.
- Improves ad viewability. This redesign further improves ad positioning on the homepage, moving sponsor content into the first screen and showcasing a high-impact ad higher on the page.
This week, defying a news cycle absorbed by political news, The Atlantic’s June magazine cover story, My Family’s Slave, led to new audience records at TheAtlantic.com. The story broke The Atlantic’s record for concurrent visitors on a single piece, reaching 74,000 concurrents. TheAtlantic.com also set a new single day audience record on May 16, only to be surpassed on May 17: when it reached a record 4.8 million unique monthly visitors.