The Review

Digital Design, UX & Project Managment

Overview

The UVU Review is a school newspaper that needed a visual facelift and more readers. The redesign was green-lighted when I came on as the web manager and suggested changes to the layout of the site and the overall look and feel of The Reviews’ brand. Later in the story design specs changed because the Editor in Chief decided to do a “digital first” push. In this case study, I will cover the redesign and the work I did that followed in increased readership. Find the current site at www.uvureview.com.

The Problem

Is a similar problem most newspapers have. People don’t read the paper as religiously as they used too. The read blogs, digital magazines, or go to their snapchat feeds. In order to compete for that attention, we couldn’t have a site that was just a plain Jane blog feed. The question was how we could make the news a relevant part of a college student living at our school? This isn’t just a website redesign. It’s a whole rebrand.

Starting Stats and a couple comments about the site

A lot of students don’t take the paper seriously and most of the writers didn’t know about it until they applied to the paper. While other students, a small portion, to say the least, are engaged with the articles on the website and only a few follow the social media channels.  I show clips from the Facebook page because, after the redesign, the main focus will be to grow an audience on that channel. Over 90% of The Reviews traffic already comes through there and if we could build that audience, we would be able to launch larger news products like a sports show, podcasts etc. 

Ideating

I hit the sketch notes and considered different ideas for solving the problem of the paper through a redesign. At the time, I wasn’t very sure how it would pan out, I know we had to build audiences on social channels, but what we drove traffic to, the website, it needed to look good and the information needed to look well presented. I didn’t have a “eureka” moment on how to save newspapers per se, I just assumed that a good first step would be a new website that matched user behaviors in the digital age. This includes getting relevant content in the front targeted audience based off of interests.

Mood Boards

I then went on the internet to look for a composition that would complement the more modern branding of the paper.

The Redesign Process/High Fidelity Comps/Design Brief

The main assumption to creating a better news website is by going the opposite direction that most newspapers go when designing a site. We wanted the design to be more of an internet publication so we purposely avoided anything that played homage to print. I also came up with new logo ideas to make the paper look more modern. 

Download The The Project Brief

Download The Artboards

Next Steps

So after reviewing the design with stakeholders, they suggested a couple changes they wanted. I then designed the first iteration of the site. Which can be found at www.there.vu. Next steps will be to optimize it and start recording metrics. Since the original redesign, I have made tweaks to accommodate changes in metrics which are now reflected in the current design of the website. A big mistake I made was to ignore how the site would look with advertising, I should have considered what I could get away with the ad rotate widgets in place.

After the redesign, my next project was building a digital media team.

For the semester we started to play around with ideas around how we would build the Facebook page following. By this time we were green-lighted to have a $1000 a semester ad budget, so we decided to create “Like our page” Facebook ads to increase followers on our Facebook page, from there, we could launch different news products. Any updates or lessons learned as we continue to work on this project will be posted on this case study. To see the cool media packages and experiments we are doing to figure out journalism in the digital age, go to the Facebook page! Below is a screenshot of our pages growth after implementing the digital-first strategies and PPC spend in one semester. (Dec 20, 2017)

Visit The Review Facebook Page

(and “Like” it)

Pricing

 If you are starting from scratch, a CadenD Studios Package plan can save you thousands with a website bundled into a done-for-you service that markets your business so you get the most out your new website.

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