We’ll be making a few changes in the layout of the front page of TPM over the next couple weeks. So I wanted to preview what we’re doing and why. Join me after the jump …
About a year and a half ago we switched to the current site design which has a featured story section at the top, LiveWire on the upper right and a chronological feed of stories below the fold. Of course, the Editors’ Blog is over at the left as usual.
The idea was to give several different points of entry into the articles and posts that make up the site — you can look at the top to see the top stories by the editors’ estimation. Or you can see them all in chronological order. That made sense to us when we did it. But it had unintended consequences — mainly that readers felt like they were seeing the same pieces showing up in multiple places on the page. We were a bit chagrined to hear this when you first started telling us this. Because that definitely wasn’t the intent. But in practice it did have that effect.
So the revised design will collapse the division between a ‘curated’ section at the top and a purely chronological section at the bottom. And that will reduce a lot of the duplication.
The other change is one we’ve been wanting to do for a while and is tied to the growing importance of LiveWire in the TPM ecosystem.
The core of our editorial approach at TPM has always been iterative journalism, which means rapid fire dogging of a story, updating new details in real time and making the format of the update conform to the content rather than the other way around.
That means we never want to be slaves to the structured ‘story’ as the coin of the realm in bringing you new information. That’s why I created LiveWire because as the site grew I sensed that we were being pulled away from that core mission and approach. And it’s been wildly successful. It’s now consistently either the most popular or second most popular part of the site. And it has a deeply complementary and organic relationship to the rest of TPM — to our full stories, our at-length reporting, the editors’ blog and more.
So this front page revision will make LiveWire more prominent and also easier to navigate.
I should stress this is a relatively minor revision of the front page. Many readers probably won’t even notice it, at least not at first. But if you’re a really regular reader you will. So I just wanted to give you a sense of what we were doing and why.
Now, with all that in mind, it’s a good time for us to get your feedback. Do these changes address issues you’ve had with the site’s layout? Do they seem helpful? Not helpful? Are there other changes that would make the layout easier for you to navigate?
Let us know. I want your feedback.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.