The Scoop

A blog about what's new and changing on sacbee.com

August 29, 2008
Help us build a great Kings page for sacbee

Kings fans, what are your online needs from The Bee?

Would you like to see box scores next to games stories, with a photo gallery of the game?

Would you like a sports ticker that gives you score updates during every Kings game?

Would you like to have your own blog on sacbee.com, where you can tell others what you think of the Kings?

Do you want mobile alerts, with a score update and key statistic or note, from a Bee reporter at Kings games? Or how about a mobile alert any time a Kings starter got injured during practice or told a reporter he wanted to be traded?

How about a reader discussion board where you can debate with Bee columnists, editors and other readers who should be getting more minutes, and maybe who should be traded?

We're planning to do all of the above when we launch our redesigned site in mid-October. The mobile alerts will likely take a little longer, but will be working on that, too.

Our sister paper, The Charlotte Observer, is using a forum tool from a company called Pluck to host reader discussion boards on the Carolina Panthers of the NFL. Check it out. What would you suggest we do with such a tool to get a community dialogue going about the Kings?

Below is a mockup of what sacbee's new Kings page might look like.

 

kings.jpg

 

We will of course continue to produce all the content you've come to expect from The Bee. We are the only news organization that attends every Kings game, practice, news conference. We are almost always first with any news about the Kings, and on that rare occasion when we get beat, we always make sure we do a better job than any one else at explaining why something happened, whether it be a trade or draft decision.

Kings fans, we want to hear from you. Send us your suggestions for improving our Kings content in the paper and online to tnegrete@sacbee.com, or drop a comment below. If you have an example of what you'd like The Bee to do online with its Kings page, please send us a link and tell us what you like about that Web site.

August 29, 2008
Debut date set for new site

We've set a target date of Oct. 14 to launch a redesigned sacbee.com. If we don't make that launch date, life will continue but my job may not.

Lucky for me, there are a lot of smart people working on the details of this site, such as building a new site map, looking at the best ways to display our content for each news category, from News to Sports, planning new content for a new site, and at how best to integrate new online tools that allow users to interact with one another and reporters and editors to interact with users of the site.

Redesigning a news Web site is sort like building a new home. When you start there is the excitement and anticipation of walking into a new and improved finished product -- better than the one you had before. Soon though, a feeling of being overwhelmed comes with all the decisions and possibilities. Are we making the right choices? We'll soon find out.

But before we get to Oct. 14, we want to share and debate some of the choices with you. With your help, we'll build a site that works for you.

 

August 25, 2008
Asked and Answered

Thanks all who responded to our initial posting on the sacbee redesign.

I thought I'd start an occasional feature on this blog called "Asked and Answered," where we respond to some of your comments and suggestions.

Remember, the redesign is an ongoing process so we reserve the right to change course on some issues that arise.  We may make changes because we think it will result in a better Web site or because you've convinced us it's the right thing to do -- or both!

And, away we go . . .

The ads: "Pop up ads have to go," writes Chenrobyl. "Even worse are the pop ups that have a time-out and not a 'close' option."  NoNewArena_ and others note that our sister site in Charlotte "has a HUGE advertisment that greets you upon entry."

Answer: Good news and bad news here. The Bee does not have plans to do away with our "pop up" ads that we run occasionally, however, I do feel Chernrobyl has a point.  The close button -- and there alway is one -- is often obscured. We can do better to make it more obvious to users.  As for the large expanding ads, we do not run those on the home page and have no plans to do so.

The weather: "I would like to see a 5 or 7 day weather forecast somewhere small on the front page. Or at least a button to click on to get the forecast easily," says mydogwhistle.

Answer: Yeah, dog, we agree. Our web developers say we have numerous options to play with and we'll seek out one that is both useful and fun.  The developers are near finished on remaking or Web weather page so we'll look into showing you that in a future posting.

Breaking News: "How about keeping 'BREAKING NEWS' something that is actually important," writes Trooper 47. "Nothing like going to that section and seeing a story about something that is only a local story and not really 'BREAKING NEWS' - like the donkey or animal stories"

Answer: Yes sir, Trooper! We're in agreement that the breaking news label is overused, so we're renaming that section, "The Latest." It will appear high on  on the home page. The idea is simply to list stories in chronological order reflecting the latest bits of information, big and small, that come into the newsroom. We'll pull the bigger stories out of that line up to give them more prominent display.  

 That's all for now.  Keep the questions and comments coming.

 

 

August 22, 2008
A peek at sacbee's new home page

The Bee is in the middle of redesigning its news Web site, and we'd like to invite you to help us improve it. Over the next two months, before we launch the new sacbee.com in the fall, this blog will seek to tell and show you some of the changes we are planning, and ask users for suggestions and their reaction to the changes. After we launch the new site we'll continue to seek user feedback and suggestions.

Sacbee.com was last redesigned in the spring of 2006, and it's become more than clear from user feedback and the complaints we hear in our own newsroom that our site needs improvement. Among the top complaints we want to address is that users can't find content they know we have. A related complaint from users of the site: why don't we report on certain topics. Often, we do have the content users ask for, but with our current site it's not always easy to find.

With that in mind, one of the first things we wanted in a redesigned sacbee is a wider site (we'll be going from the current 700 pixels to 990) to display more content. We also wanted a home page that was more flexible in its design, and allowed news editors to better highlight the top news stories while also having space to promote content from our Features, Sports and Opinion sections, as well as the latest news from the wires.

We also wanted a home page that better reflected our efforts to be more aggressive about breaking news on sacbee, continually updating stories, producing more online-only content and seeking to interact with users a lot more. (We'll blog at a later date about user interaction on the new site, including some new social interactive tools we'll debut when the site launches.)

But rather than just tell you about some of our goals for a new sacbee, let me show you here what we have in mind. A few months ago we hired Navigation Arts to help us design a better site. We'll be making adjustments to the mockup you see below, but it is basically an early look at the new home page for sacbee.

 

home.jpg

Among the first things you'll notice are the blue tone and the new masthead with Scoopy. We think that's a big improvement in the look, but the top also makes its very clear you are at the news site for The Sacramento Bee, a trusted brand that has provided news to this region for more than 150 years. (The url will remain www.sacbee.com.)

Below the masthead is the navigation bar (forgive the typo on Capitol & California by Navigation Arts) that we think is cleaner-looking and will be easier to use than our current bar with the dropdown menu. The actual topics we'll have in our new navigation bar will differ from what you see in the mockup, but our goal will be to highlight those topics where we get lots of traffic and routinely have strong content.

The photo in the top left corner with the "Gas hits $4" headline (there are other stories below that) would be for the top news stories of the moment, as picked by news editors at The Bee. To the immediate right is a container for the latest stories editors have posted to the site. In this container we plan to give users some choices, including the ability to look at the stories that are drawing the most online traffic, the most comments or are being e-mailed the most.

Below the container with the latest stories will be an area to direct users to some of the best content that's not hard news. (Sorry, you can't see that in the mockup above.) To the right of this area will be a container for the latest posts by our bloggers and columnists. Like the container on the latest stories, users will be given choices on how they want to search for columns or blogs.

Below the news stories and directory of features content will be a container the width of the site that holds our multimedia work, comics and puzzles as well as photos and video submitted by users. Again, we're planning to give users choices on how they want to search for content in this multimedia bar.

Under the bar, we'll be putting in containers on the latest stories from the wires, with topics like World News, Business, Sports, Entertainment. Those containers will automatically update every few minutes with the latest stories from the Associated Press. 

To get a better idea of what our new full home page home page might look like, check out our sister paper's site, The Charlotte Observer. Navigation Arts also designed that site. Our site won't look quite be the same, but it will look like a cousin of the Charlotte site.

So that's a look at where we are headed with the new sacbee home page. Got ideas to help us make it even better? Tell us about why you come to sacbee and what you want to see and find on the home page. Point us to other news home pages you like, and tell us why you like them. Or give us a list of the five most important things you think should be on our new home page. You can share your thoughts in our comments field below or e-mail me at tnegrete@sacbee.com.



About The Scoop

The Scoop is a blog where the managers of sacbee.com talk about new initiatives and our plans for sacbee.com. You can reach us by at the e-mail addresses below or you can comment on our postings.

Tom Negrete is managing editor of The Bee and oversees the daily work of journalists who produce news content for the newspaper and sacbee.com. Negrete, who has been at The Bee since 1994, has served as assistant managing editor for business and sports, sports editor and assistant city editor. E-mail him at tnegrete@sacbee.com or reach him at (916) 321-1171.

Seán McMahon is The Bee's Director of Digital Media, overseeing the interactive efforts of the company. His e-mail is smcmahon@sacbee.com.

Linda Gonzales is digital team leader for Sacbee.com and has been an editor at The Bee since 1995. You can email her at lgonzales@sacbee.com.

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31