Business & Economy

Welcome to VTDigger’s new website

Dear Readers,

VTDigger launched a new website for desktop and mobile platforms on Wednesday.

The new design replicates an old-fashioned newspaper layout and is similar to the online front pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Instead of simply presenting the news by chronology based on when a story was published, we are now able to show you which stories we believe are most important over the course of our 24/7 news cycle.

The top news story comes with the big picture in the center, followed by four other top stories that are published with photos.

Stories in the left rail are posted by topic and chronology. The News from Around the State section, features our reporting from Chittenden, Windham, Bennington and Rutland counties. The latest video and podcast stories are also embedded in the front page section.

A number of readers wrote to us, complaining that they didn’t like the new format. They prefer a chronological presentation.

We made an effort on Friday to accommodate that request and now have a list of latest headlines in order of publication by time and date located below the front page section.

The rest of the home page presentation includes a display of More Recent Coverage that shows the previous day’s content. Below that is an Editor’s Picks section that features stories from previous weeks that you might have missed.

Commentary is featured below press releases. Our special projects are located near the bottom, above an archive of stories by topic.

Our objective is to help you more easily find more VTDigger stories. Too often, with our old format, stories disappeared quickly from the front page. Now you can find stories from the day before more quickly.

The website is also faster — the new design takes several seconds off the page load time.

Our mobile presence has also been revamped. It now includes photos with stories, commentary, political news, most popular posts and a better menu.

Thank you for your patience as we rolled out the site. We appreciate your feedback.

Anne Galloway
Editor, VTDigger.org


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Anne Galloway

Recent Stories

  • Kathy Leonard

    Thanks for the explanation, Anne; I’ll try to understand it as I go forward. For now, I can’t find where I can load a mobile app (which I had never needed before for my iPad). Also, the search feature doesn’t seem to work, as well as the number of comments on each article.

    It may be good for your brain to sort through new pathways, but this old brain is taking its time to adjust to the new layout. I expect Digger is adjusting as well.

  • JohnGreenberg

    You say that “The new design replicates an old-fashioned newspaper
    layout…..” But I can’t recall any newspaper front page which
    repeats the same headline for the same story, and certainly not any that repeats
    the same one several times. There are other online sources which do this, but speaking
    as just one reader, I always find the repetition annoying.

    Two specific suggestions for improvement:

    1) If there is a link anywhere to the commentaries as a category (as opposed to
    specific commentaries), I don’t see it. It should at least be part of the
    3 line menu at the top of the page, as it used to be.

    2) Include the number of comments with every headline. For articles I’ve
    already read, this allows me to track comments and to read new ones. It’s
    an awkward system, but it beats having to wait for every article to load to see
    if there are new comments. Providing the
    date (which you used to do on the left-hand side of the page) would also be
    helpful. Providing the time and date of
    the latest comment would be ideal!

  • Ken Hertz

    For comparison, here are the web sites of a few newspapers:
    washingtonpost.com
    nytimes.com
    latimes.com
    chicagotribune.com
    nola.com
    mercurynews.com

  • rosemariejackowski

    I miss the previous way which listed some of the comments. It was easier to have an on going conversation with other commenters.
    One improvement now is that it is easier to correct typos. Before some computers could not do that without rewriting the entire comment. That was very time-consuming and frustrating.
    Thanks for including Bennington news.

  • Neil Johnson

    Your format 2 generations ago was the best, by far.

    Why would you want to follow old designs that nobody reads and went our of business? It’s not a newspaper.

    I suspect you’re getting far less reader participation, if so change back. The new format is far less user friendly, not intuitive nor easy on the eyes, it’ doesn’t flow. You were sold a bill of goods, make them fix it.

  • Jason Wells

    Sorry for the negative rant but the new format is just awful. I also noticed wcax changed on the same day hmm. It is very hard to navigate, the text on articles is much smaller and harder to read. Possibly to much categorizing going on. The issues I have with using it on a phone are now even worse than before mostly due to the adaptive design that was used during the last update some time ago. I can not even spoof the site using a user agent faker phones and tablets these days have pinch zoom and I would much rather being able to see the full screen layout instead of having to get my thumbs tired scrolling down and down. Please rollback to the design used before the past 2 updates it was simple used less bandwidth and was easy to navigate. Thanks

  • Jim Sawhill

    Why is there no menu link to Commentary? It is supposed to be a ‘category’.

  • Michael Dougherty

    We’re making some fixes throughout the day today, so you may continue to see some unusual behavior. Thanks for bearing with us!

    • Jamie Carter

      Please stop making fixes. The only fix that should be made is to revert to the old design. We the readers are bearing with you…. you are not listening. I have nearly stopped visiting the site all together and have resorted to simply reading the blurbs in my morning email.

  • If your website needs a user manual (ie. article) to explain how to work with it, then your layout is not good.

    The website should b laid out for us, your customers, and not you. It should not matter one iota what you at VT Digger think about your site – I don’t remember any attempt by VT Digger to ask the readers what we wanted.

    By moving the opeds to the bottom of the web page, a location nobody goes to unless intending to do so, you have removed an opportunity to expose folks to thoughts they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to.

    You have moved the comments so far down from the attached stories those too are to be found mostly by accident.

    You have lost the smooth flow of incoming news stories, and you have given you, VT Digger, solid control over the stories most people will see: those towards the top of the web page. This is one of the more serious forms of intentional or unintentional control over what information folks receive.

  • Greg Smela

    Thank you for the new layout.

    This makes for one more site to avoid in the daily quest to find out what is going on thus giving me more free time to do something… anything of value.

    Why fix something that wasn’t broken? And why try to recreate an “old-fashioned newspaper” when old-fashioned newspapers are going the way of the dodo?

    The principal goal of user interface design is to make the user experience as efficient and pleasant as possible. I’ve learned that in 30 years of doing that type of work. Your new design, on top of the privacy-robbing use of Disqus, is a slap in the face to people who want less complexity in their lives.

    You’ve been sold a bill of goods by whoever foisted this work of art off on you.

  • Jamie Carter

    This format really is terrible. I’ve given it a couple of days now to adjust and it’s just awful, there’s no getting used to it. Don’t make the same mistake you did with Disqus, just roll it back before more readers find another news outlet.

    Fix it don’t fix, it’s an awful format. Trying something new is fine as long as when you realize it’s not really working you go back to what was working and stop wasting time on a bad design.

    I’ll also agree with Rama, in the future you may ask your audience. Disqus was a mistake and the new page design is too. You’ve lost 40 commentors because of Disqus, I’d bet you’ve lost twice that in readers with the new webpage. Businesses that refuse to listen to their customers don’t last very long and although your product is great, if I can access that product because of a terrible webpage it’s a moot point.

  • Larry Rudiger

    I agree that this is not (yet) an improvement. Print and electronic are inherently different media, and I don’t see the case to emulate a newspaper. Also, I miss a listing of recent comments.

  • Neil Johnson

    Congratulations, I think I just saw the first cartoon that didn’t make fun of Republicans or Donald!

    • Neil Johnson

      Well, it’s clearly back to the comic bashing of anything not left leaning. It was a wonderful week, I’ll remember it fondly. Maybe we could dedicate one week of the year in Vermont where we don’t make berate and fun of conservatives?

  • Michael Olcott

    Im sorry to agree with most everyone else here but The new design looks like a bad Geocities page from the late 90’s/early00’s. you had a good site layout and i am totally lost on why you messed with something that worked well.

    • Michael Olcott

      In all fairness today was the first day that i have opened the main page in a full screen window. it is/was….less awful than my first comment would suggest. i normally view 2 windows side by side on a 24 inch screen so it seems to be more of a scaling issue for me than anything. ( well, other than the ‘Change is bad’ mindset) i DO still consider VTD as the go-to source for VT news and that wont change.

  • JohnGreenberg

    Updating my previous comment:

    The 3-bar tool (which I probably should have called a menu, rather than a search tool) now includes commentaries, but excludes environment as a category.

    Oy,

    I agree with all the other comments: ditch the new format and go back to the old one. It was far better in many ways.

    There is one change which I would like to see retained: namely, the 3-bar tool stays on the screen while scrolling, so you no longer have to scroll back up (or hit home) to get to it. That’s a nice improvement.

    And it you really want to make changes, ask your readers for suggestions FIRST.

  • victor ialeggio

    Funny: the last thing that occurred to me was, “Oh, this looks like an old-fashioned newspaper layout.” It may resemble print layout @ 100% but I’ll bet many of your readers goose it up to 125-150% to read at which point the layout is pretty much lost.

    Problems: way too much white space; comments at top of the article as separate link cause needless scrolling-to-top; IN THE NEWS bar font and bulleted articles below much too small; the commentaries & ongoing conversations from readers are hard to pick up on. And I would echo John Greenberg’s remark below about losing “…the smooth flow of incoming news stories,…VT Digger, [now has] solid control over the stories most people will see:…”
    That’s gatekeeper stuff — which I’m sure you did not intend.

    Display on [my] phone, however, is not bad for a 3.5″ screen, no app needed, for the present. Reporting & writing continues to be first-rate, Anne.

  • Jane Duda

    Not sure what’s up with the mobile version, but when I scroll down the list of stories after reading one, many are listed by author with no headline — it’s not helpful to have to click on”Alan J Keays” or “Erin Mansfield”, for example, just to find out what the story is about.

    I’m a designer. I live on the web… I like change when it serves a purpose. But I have to agree with others that while the content remains well-written and relevant, the UX (user experience) of the new site leaves a lot to be desired.

    • Thanks for letting us know. We’ve reported your problem to our web person.

  • christopher_weakley

    I suggest you ask visitors who are using an ad blocker to whitelist your site. I didn’t even realize I had my ad blocker turned on until I started thinking about your new page layout and asked myself “where are the banner ads?” It shouldn’t be hard to convince most of your readers to whitelist you.