Developed entirely in the open, the new site has been built around the needs of its readers, including feedback received from over 25,000 comments during an eight month beta phase, says the Guardian.
Guardian US - which won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its reporting of the Edward Snowden disclosures on NSA surveillance - will be the first Guardian edition to fully transition to the newly designed site. Over the past year, Guardian US has delivered record online traffic, with 27m unique visitors in the US and over 30% audience growth year-on-year. (comScore, Sept. 2014)
Readers of the Guardian's UK and Australian editions will continue to see the existing site design, although they can opt in to view beta versions.
Built in an open environment, say the publishers, by an expert in-house team and based on thorough research into how people consume news and features, including feedback from readers, the new site was created to provide the best possible ways of finding, reading and engaging with Guardian journalism.
Theguardian.com now centers around a groundbreaking, flexible 'container' format, which reflects the way people consume news and features, rather than how they are produced. Containers can be customized in a variety of different ways to highlight stories, and allow editors to think beyond simply building a page, to creating a collection of stories that bring each day's news to life for readers.
According to the Guardian, the container format enables its editorial team to curate news and features with greater sensitivity to the news agenda, stylishly representing the editorial voice through displays that respond to the importance, type and tone of individual stories. It also allows for a clearer emphasis on live and up-to-date news, while bringing audiences closer to Guardian journalism by offering more ways to share stories and participate in the conversation.
The site has also been optimised to load as quickly possible in response to feedback from readers who valued speed of use when reading news and feature content. The new site loads four times faster than the previous version and is one of the fastest news sites in the US (source:SpeedCurve). The new theguardian.com is also responsive across all platforms and devices, providing a clear and consistent user experience regardless of screen size.
The new site has been designed to be visually compelling, with a focus on innovative design, and has also been built around the needs and preferences of Guardian readers. With simple and elegant layouts that improve the reading experience and a new color palette to guide people to specific sections, stories and writers, the site offers more ways to discover and engage with the Guardian's award-winning journalism, more often.
Just as the new site presents better and richer ways to experience and engage with Guardian journalism, it also offers improved and more bespoke ways for advertisers to reach and engage with the Guardian's valuable audience of free-thinkers, says the Guardian. In-depth data analysis and technical expertise has been deployed to ensure that innovative advertising solutions are a key part of the site, including new formats that maximise the responsive and flexible nature of the new theguardian.com. The launch is sponsored by the 100% Electric Nissan LEAF, with a bespoke campaign running from November 3.
Other recent changes include a completely redesigned video player and new video pages, brand new gallery pages that offer a more consistent presentation of images across platforms, as well as a new format for live blogs that balance breaking updates with an at-a-glance summary.
Wolfgang Blau, director of digital strategy, Guardian News & Media, said: "Our goal is to make the Guardian the world's most influential and innovative news organisation. This is why we have completely rebuilt our site, our app and our internal publishing system. On the new site, it's now easier for our readers to find and interact with Guardian journalism, while our editorial teams have new ways to express themselves digitally and to collaborate with our fast-growing community. We are immensely grateful for the thousands of reader comments that have helped us develop our new site and are proud to first launch it in the US today, with Australia and the UK to follow in the coming months."
Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief, Guardian US, said: "Our US edition has pioneered new ways of using digital journalism to tell our stories and engage with our audience of 27 million users. This reputation for doing things differently, for experimenting and innovating with our journalism and with technology, makes the US the perfect place in which to launch our newly redesigned and reconceived site. We're really excited to be able to offer our US readers an early view of the fantastic new Guardian experience."
Alex Breuer, creative director, Guardian News & Media, said: "Great design is central to everything we do at the Guardian and we have been evolving a new brand identity and design language that reflects our global reach. Great design isn't just about looking good though, its about usability. Our new site offers a consistent, elegant, simple experience that better empowers our readers to discover and enjoy our award-winning journalism regardless of the device they use."