Steamboatpilot.com gets a new look

Newspaper launches redesign of more user-friendly Web site with variety of new features

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— The Steamboat Pilot & Today this morning launched a redesigned version of its Web site, steamboatpilot.com.

In addition to an extensive redesign, the updated site includes a variety of new features intended to enhance the online experience of Pilot & Today readers. Those features include a new video browser and player, a live Web cam and improved photo displays and gallery sections, among other changes. Readers also will find drop-down menus providing links to a variety of news and multimedia content.

Many of the changes were the result of feedback from readers, said Dan Divens, Internet services manager for the Pilot & Today.

"The new design is the result of a usability study and feedback directly from our online readers," Divens said. "Every little change was done with purpose, with our online readers' best interests in mind. Steamboatpilot.com is more user friendly, has more relevant features and does a better job of delivering content to the Web site visitors."

Site users will notice a prominent video display in the center of the homepage. The display highlights a main news video and also features thumbnails of other news videos. Each of the videos can be played simply by clicking on the thumbnail photo.

"News videographer Matt Stensland has produced excellent pieces for our readers, but our old site made it difficult to find those videos," Editor Brent Boyer said. "My hope is that readers will regularly access that content to complement the information they get through our traditional print journalism."

Users also will notice obituaries and births displayed at the bottom of the homepage, per the request of readers. A link to a Lincoln Avenue Web cam can be found at the upper right corner of the site, and a list of the most popular news stories, as determined by reader comments, is at the bottom left of the page.

The redesign is the second such effort in the past 14 months. The Pilot & Today first went online in 1997, and a major site redesign was completed in August 2006. That redesign allowed readers to post comments to stories, create their own blogs, receive breaking news alerts via e-mail and cell phone and set up an RSS feed of the newspaper's top headlines.

All of those features remain in place. Registered users will not need to set up a new account, and all reader comments will remain unchanged.

"As a news and information company, it's critical for us to deliver information in the quickest and most user-friendly format," Publisher Bryna Larsen said. "The Internet is the most up-to-the-minute venue when delivering the news. I'm thrilled that we can bring our readers a more navigable site."

For more information or to provide feedback about the site, call Boyer at 871-4221 or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com.

Comments

RoxyDad 6 years, 11 months ago

Great Update.

I enjoy the list on the left of the past few days articles, more pictures, and video.

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freshair 6 years, 11 months ago

You've added some bells and whistles but overall, from a design aspect, it's too busy. Much preferred the previous website. I'm afraid you've sacrificed efficiency for bling.

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JQPUBLIC 6 years, 11 months ago

After two days of trying to get rockies tickets on a messed up web site, all I could think of when I saw your new site today was .... what the hell, now what!! Will comment further after a couple of days use.

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inmyopinion 6 years, 11 months ago

I think I like it, but it is bit hard to navigate. I would like to see some up to date news feeds about things going on outside of Routt County.

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1234 6 years, 11 months ago

most people do not like change, but change is going to happen. i had a good time with the old look, hope i can get used to the new look

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inmyopinion 6 years, 11 months ago

I take back the second half of my previoue statement. I finally found the drop-down news section, which did take me to national/international news. It did, however, take a while to load.

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Jason Miller 6 years, 11 months ago

I dont care what anybody else says,the new page ROCKS!!!!

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wzstfu 6 years, 11 months ago

Ooh. breaking news... Steamboat Pilot/Today revamps web site.

Installing a new theme isn't really news and I'm not all that impressed. It's not that I have anything against change - change can be good. However, the new site is too busy. There's no flow to the main page.

What would really impress me is if the editors would pay more attention to the content. How about using some spell checkers before submitting articles? Or quoting people correctly. Or writing articles without being like Fox news. Fair and balanced anyone?

Sorry to be so critical, but the old site was just fine.

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Malcolm_Reynolds 6 years, 11 months ago

Early this morning, the NEW LOOK looked like the old look and I said to myself, WHAT NEW LOOK? It looks the same as the old look. This evening the NEW LOOK showed up. Nothing like having the article touting the NEW LOOK before the NEW LOOK is ready!

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corduroy 6 years, 11 months ago

imagine that, it almost looks like the Craig Daily Press.

Lets change some PHP and CSS and make a "new" site :)

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wzstfu 6 years, 11 months ago

corduroy - i think you went way over their heads with the PHP and CSS. If anyone at the paper knew what those were then I think the site would look, gee I don't know, "new".

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corduroy 6 years, 11 months ago

Love blowing people's minds with the techno babble :)

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Daniel Divens 6 years, 11 months ago

Thanks to everyone for the feedback. Since we're talking 'geek,' I thought I would feed the fire a bit and fill you folks in on the technologies behind our redesign and the engine the Web site runs on.

All of our newspaper Web sites (The Craig Daily Press, The Steamboat Pilot & Today, The Lawrence Journal World, and the Payson Roundup) run on Python servers. The folks at our parent publication, The Lawrence Journal World in Lawrence, Kan., specifically The World Online, several years ago developed the open-source Django framework that runs on Python. You can read about Django here: http://www.djangoproject.com. Since then, all of our Web sites have been built using that framework.

More recently, the folks at the World Online have developed a commercial Content Management System called 'Ellington' that utilizes Django and Python. You can read about Ellington here: http://www.ellingtoncms.com/. Our newspapers were the beta testing ground for Ellington, and we're pleased to continue to use such a robust and flexible CMS for our online publishing.

Corduroy, you are partially correct. When we redesigned the website, there was no need to recreate the database framework that we've been using for years, so when it came time for a face lift it was mostly just a CSS update. No PHP changes since we use Django instead. Additionally, the Web site benefited from several core programming enhancements within the Ellington CMS, such as the new 'Active Discussions' area on the lower left rail. That feature uses an algorithm to determine our most active articles based on reader activity and comments.

Coming soon will be an upgraded media server that will better display our online videos and make them easier to view across multiple platforms, as well as some cool new features for our registered users.

Thanks for keeping the discussion lively, and we always appreciate your feedback.

Dan Divens Internet Services Manager 970-871-4236 ddivens@steamboatpilot.com

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corduroy 6 years, 11 months ago

good to see that they've chosen to use an Open Source system like Django. Although I'm not familiar with that one specifically (we use FreeBSD not Python) I've come to find that most CMS (Content Management Systems) are all about the same, just differing in how they appear to the end user and the one editing.

If Ellington works on FreeBSD I'll have to see if there's a trial out there, I'm currently using PHPWCMS for my CMs projects, which is open source.

Ok Now I'm really babbling, but now my curiousness about the site has been sated :)

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rogue_theory 6 years, 11 months ago

corduroy & wzstfu, do you really "Love blowing people's minds with the techno babble :)?"

i think it is your mind that is blown...your comments make it quite obvious how little you know about web-technologies.

Where on any page of steamboatpilot.com do you see a .php? Yah, nowhere, because the site is written in python.

I love this quote too... "Lets change some PHP and CSS and make a "new" site :)" Isn't this EXACTLY how websites are made? (at least the ones not developed with .ASP or .JSP or Ruby, Coldfusion, PYTHON or any number of other web technologies).

The bottom line is the new look of the site is phenomenal. The layout is far more intuitive than it was before and yes, some new 'bling' was also added.

Can't you webtrolls EVER say anything nice and give credit where credit is deserved?....i swear, the comments on this site are worse than daytime t.v.

I got some advice...the next time you wanna play know-it-all, have a clue what you are talking about...mmmmkay?

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rogue_theory 6 years, 11 months ago

LOL!!!!!

didn't even see the new comment corduray!!

PRICELESS!

FreeBSD is an OPERATING SYSTEM!

Like windows or Osx or linux...

and yes, you can install Apache and php on ALL of them.

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RoxyDad 6 years, 11 months ago

wzsfu ... Your comments show you need a hobby

Great Site Upgrade!

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Carrie Requist 6 years, 11 months ago

While I like the new look, there are a few things that are inconsistent that are making it hard to navigate or make me expect functionality that isn't there:

  • The Red headlines look like they should be links and many of them are (like the ones under the video (Local News, etc) and the ones on the far right (Latest Photo Galleries and Latest Photos and Today's Front Page)) but the first ones you see on the left side (Latest News and below that Active Discussions) are NOT links. This si very confusing and inconsistent. All Red text headlines should be links or none should be links, I shouldn't have to hover to see if one is a link or not.

-The arrows as bullets for the Latest News stories down the lefthand side of the page lead me to believe that I will be able to click on them to get an expanded look at that headline (like the first paragraph or subhead). This is pretty standard functionality both on the web and in consumer applications. I think you should add this functionality or change the graphic so it doesn't indicate this additional functionality (dot or a dash would be fine).

Both of these things got to me on the first day and made the site seem less usable than it actually is.

Overall, the new look is nice.

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JQPUBLIC 6 years, 11 months ago

Everything seems to be easy to find and working just fine.

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