An update on the new web site

The Martha's Vineyard Times
— Photo by Steve Myrick

The roll-out of the new site continues, with many comments from readers – as part of the comment feature visible to all readers as well as feedback provided directly to us – to help us out. We’ve recovered from major server issues that coincided with the launch, and are focusing on fixing the site where we need to.

In some cases you’ve identified technical hitches and oversights, and we’re working that list down as quickly as possible. In others you’ve liked, or taken exception to, fundamental design decisions that we feel are important and will work well but may need some time to impress you.

Here’s an update at midday, Friday.

A number of technical issues have been resolved. The movie listings have been re-worked, and links from the news page to all the opinion and letter pages are operating as they should. Similarly, links to opinion and letter pages are working on mobile devices. The court report is now in a more prominent place, at the bottom of the news page. We’re still working on webcams, and live links to community organization pages, which will be up and running again soon.

Much of our re-design has been shaped by a need to accommodate mobile devices – phones and tablets – a trend some of you don’t like. We feel we have no choice; we want folks to access our content any way they choose, and their choices are very rapidly favoring mobile (almost half the visits to our site now come from mobile devices). The new design seems to us, and to our mobile users, a great improvement.

Another important re-design decision, and the least popular we’ve made, is to give up the drop-down menus that previously dominated our approach to navigation. We believe that as our site grows there will simply be too much content to concisely organize in drop-downs on the home page. The major tabs – news, on island, a+e, etc. are meant to do the heavy lifting and get you directly to the right landing pages and the particular content you’re looking for.

We appreciate your comments and ideas, we’re fixing things as we go along, and we’re open to the idea that major functional changes we’ve made are still subject to reconsideration as we gain real world experience.