Recently, they have realized that without the proper online presence, they can not become one of the most significant broadcasters in the region.
For the duration of the project, the most important thing for us was to guide and teach the client about the latest digital trends. We could not stress enough how important is the user experience (UX) if we want reliable and returning readers.
Project Background and Description
Pannon RTV is a media house from Subotica, Serbia. It’s consisted of two parts - TV station and radio station. The existing news portal was out of date, but it has been important for them to give it a much-needed refresh and to have more focus on the web presence.
The news portal was never carefully planned and it was outdated. It was done ad hoc in WordPress using a pre-installed theme and it had more than 40K articles.
We have faced a few challenges right at the beginning of the project:
How to plan the website structure properly?
Which technology to choose?
How to design a proper interface for editors?
These were the key problems, but it is also worth mentioning that it was necessary to change the server infrastructure. Believe it or not, the previous site was hosted on a shared server, so the website was extremely slow every day - sometimes, it didn’t even work, because of an overload.
We were careful with defining goals in the beginning - but, the absolute minimum we knew that we need to achieve was:
Change the website platform to Drupal
Create a clean website structure
Create a brand new design
Maximize the user experience
Migrate the old content
We have explained to the client that the key to success is in making the right first steps - taking more time on planning the structure and the UX, rather than hurrying with a development phase.
During the research phase, we have have studied the biggest news portals as well as some of the smaller ones, and we identified what is going to work in our case and what is not.
Of course, there were some challenges along the way - we needed to convince the client that they need to give up some of the things from their brief if they want to success. In the end we have agreed on the most crucial parts, and we have continued with refining the wireframe.
After the approval of the wireframe, the creative team has begun working on the first design. After a couple of versions and iterations, we have come up with a great final result - everything up until this point was so worth it!
There were three key sections that we needed to take a special care of:
Featured Articles (Header Section)
For the article page, we have decided to put the big lead image at the top, with a thin sidebar next to the article body with the publishing date, author information and share buttons.
When we’re talking about the featured articles at the home page, we have wanted to drop the traditional slider, and we have put the emphasized images and titles of the three featured articles, and a live feed of the newest articles at the right side.
The look and feel of the new homepage was now clean and simple. Based on the Google Analytics data, the users have started to use every section of the website immediately. It feels good when you know that the time spent on planning wasn’t for nothing!
Once we were finished with the design, and got the approval from the client, we have started with the development.
Pannon RTV is now a Thunder-based website. Thunder is a Drupal distribution sponsored by Burda Media. We choose Thunder because it’s clean, simple and well-crafted Drupal distribution with some killer features for desktop publishing. Some of them are:
Regular maintenance and updates
Paragraphs module for the editorial experience - it rocks!
Mobile preview - a cool and easy way to check if everything’s alright with mobile and/or tablet view
Liveblog, Facebook Instant Articles, Focal Point for images, Blazy for image loading and better UI
It’s based on Drupal 8
When we take a look back at the timeline of the project development, we think that we have successfully reached our primary goals. More improvements are planned in the future, but we are more than happy with the initial stage.
- The new website is a brand new Thunder distribution based on Drupal 8.
- The look and feel of the website is completely changed, user interface is easy to navigate, people are easily finding what they have intended to read and we are getting the positive feedback on the UX.
- We have successfully migrated over 40K pieces of content.
Let the numbers speak for us:
- Average visit duration has been increased by 100%.
- Bounce rate has been decreased by 15%.
- Number of returning users has increased by 60%.