OLD Media Moves

Wall Street Journal readies website redesign

August 31, 2013

Posted by Chris Roush

Edward Roussel, who joined Dow Jones this past June as head of consumer product, speaks with the Dow Jones newsletter The Lead about the redesign of WSJ.com and data-driven journalism.

Here is an excerpt:

Tell us what the WSJ.com facelift will look like.
ER: The biggest single change since the last overhaul of the website in 2008 is the emergence of mobile as the dominant medium for distributing information. So the challenge is to take a website designed for desktop computers and turn it into a website that looks great regardless of whether you’re on mobile, tablet, or desktop.

This makes simplicity the overriding design goal. On a 7×5 cm screen there is no room for extraneous detail – every pixel counts. Like a great editor who rigorously weeds out superfluous words, our designers need to challenge themselves to endlessly simplify the experience. Consistency is critical, too. With most of our readers working on multiple screens these days, we need to make it easy for them to find their favorite content as they switch between devices.

The data-driven journalism trend – what does it mean for us?
ER: How we use data has implications for the entire company. On the business side, it will help us to serve ads that are more relevant to our readers and help us better serve subscribers as we get to know them.

On the editorial side, it opens up a whole new avenue of investigative reporting. This isn’t without risk: think Wikileaks, Edward Snowden or the Bloomberg journalists who hacked their own customers’ data. But there is no question that this will be a major trend in journalism in the months and years ahead. Nate Silver was, arguably, the most influential journalist of the 2012 presidential election because his grasp of data gave him a competitive edge over old-school political reporters and pundits.

Read more here.

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