BU Today

Campus Life

BU Today Gets a Makeover

Redesigned news site highlights reader comments


BU Today returns today after three weeks off, with a new look and feel aimed at making it easier for readers to find stories that interest them and giving greater prominence to readers’ comments. The newest version of the University’s daily news website places four related stories beside the main text on its story pages and plays up the most interesting recent comments on its home page. It also puts news headlines at the natural starting point for readers, the top left of the home page, and gives more space to series of stories about things to do in and around Boston (neighborhoods, places to eat, day trips). Editor’s Picks, which are selected for their lasting interest, are given more space, and news from athletics is now a permanent fixture on the home page.

“The new site is bigger,” says Scott Dasse, creative director of Interactive Design. “It’s faster. And it does a much better job of making vast amounts of content discoverable based on natural browsing habits. This all adds up to a richer, more meaningful experience.”

The redesigned BU Today has a cleaner look, is easier to navigate, and because it is built using WordPress, the publishing platform employed widely throughout the University, it is faster and more reliable than its predecessor.

This latest version is the third iteration of the daily site, whose readership has grown steadily since it launched in September 2005. Last semester alone, the site had more than a million page views from visitors in 198 countries. Last year, BU Today won a gold award for writing in a national competition sponsored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

What do you think? Let us know in the new comment space below.

Art Jahnke

Art Jahnke can be reached at jahnke@bu.edu.

20 Comments on BU Today Gets a Makeover

  • Awesome on 08.29.2011 at 11:23 am

    Nice improvements… this site looks so professional!

  • anonymous on 08.29.2011 at 12:36 pm

    Very nice. Will you have a link to the webcams (Marsh Plaza, The Link, etc) ?

    • Harry on 08.30.2011 at 9:36 am

      What’s the point? Those webcams are always broken anyway…

      • Cal on 09.06.2011 at 12:20 pm

        Ah, perhaps someone should spearhead a webcam maintenance program. Us left coasters love the webcams !!!

  • NotSoSure on 08.29.2011 at 1:42 pm

    I think the old format was far superior – it provided everything a reader needed to know in one glance, rather than requiring him/her to scroll down. In addition, the gray print in the body of each article is too light and difficult to read.

    Bottom line: Less is more.

  • MeEither on 08.29.2011 at 2:38 pm

    I agree about the grey.

  • David Quach on 08.29.2011 at 2:44 pm

    will this be ready for mobile edition also? I love usin me mobile

    • David Keefe on 08.29.2011 at 2:50 pm

      You bet, David! The new BU Today mobile launched today as well.

      • Pippa on 08.29.2011 at 2:57 pm

        How do we get BU Today Mobile?

        • Amy M Laskowski on 08.29.2011 at 3:03 pm

          It’s free to download through the iTunes store. For more information, read here: http://www.bu.edu/today/2010/bu-on-the-iphone/

          • Pippa on 08.29.2011 at 3:20 pm

            Thank you. Please keep us posted for when it becomes available for Android.

  • Pippa on 08.29.2011 at 2:48 pm

    I like the new look. I especially like how you will make reader’s comments more prominent on the page. It makes us feel special and more a part of the BU Today community. Thanks for the upgrade. Keep the news coming!

  • Jenny on 08.29.2011 at 2:55 pm

    I really like the new design! Great work!

  • rjolly on 08.29.2011 at 3:42 pm

    much muchhh bettterrr ! especially the newsletter !

  • Jason on 08.31.2011 at 12:22 am

    I like the general idea, I guess, but…

    Too much weight is placed on the “close up”, leaving the top story WITHOUT A PHOTO, which might be fine if the close ups were National Geographic photographs… but they’re not.

    Need to scroll to reach latest content… what sense does that make? Only 2.5 articles are actually visible upon load at 768px.

    Too much chunky font.

    Light grey font is hard to read in articles, and homepage dates and categories.

    Featured box ironically not prominently featured. “Don’t Miss” section ironically easy to miss.

    • Mr. Naysay on 08.31.2011 at 12:09 pm

      I think you just can’t handle change :-)

      This new design is nothing short of amazing. And not just for a school! Not many major news sites look as good. Everything that you dislike – fonts and layout – I appreciate. And it’s really slick on an iPad.

    • I like scrolling on 08.31.2011 at 4:09 pm

      The Internet scrolls. Major news sites scroll. Have you looked at any of them recently?

  • Scott F Dasse on 09.04.2011 at 7:02 am

    I want to thank everyone for speaking up about the latest redesign. I know some decisions are not unanimously loved (they never are!), but I am certain that this version of the site eclipses the last one in just about every area.

    We’re using tools and analytics to fine tune your experience, but we also take readers’ feedback to heart. As an example we’ve darkened the body text in articles, increasing contrast for some screen/lighting conditions.

    Keep the feedback coming! Just use the contact form.

  • Somers on 09.14.2011 at 5:27 am

    Just wondering what happened to all of Kal’s photos that used to be shown on here?

    • David Keefe on 09.15.2011 at 3:55 pm

      Hey Somers – are you talking about the “Close-up” photos featured on the front page? The Close-up archives can be found here: http://www.bu.edu/today/close-ups/

      They feature many of BU Photo’s talented photogs, including Kal.

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