When the digital team at the Tampa Bay Times first gathered more than two years ago to discuss upgrading TampaBay.com, the group quickly agreed that the site needed a complete overhaul.
It didn’t need a redesign. It needed to be re-imagined with a vastly improved user experience and more sophisticated, targeted advertising opportunities as the primary goals.
The site had award-winning content, but the digital platform lacked the capability and functionality to match.
The team spent the next few years conducting focus groups with readers and advertisers, culling through the feedback and working with industry experts, including 352 Media Group, which helped design the site.
In February 2013, the Times launched its “Reimagined TampaBay.com.”
The search is smarter. The stories are easier to read. The site is filled with more video. No matter what size screen you’re on, the site automatically detects it and adjusts itself to fit.
The new TampaBay.com now reflects the same high-quality presentation of content that readers enjoy in Tampa Bay Times and tbt*, our free daily tab. We now have three world-class delivery systems for our news and information: TampaBay.com, Tampa Bay Times, and tbt*.
We have tremendously powerful search capabilities and cleaner design, which make it easier for our readers to find our great content. We also have video — a complementary storytelling platform that plays to our strengths.
In addition to improved search, better design, and more video, the reimagined TampaBay.com loses no features when users switch from a PC to a tablet to a smart phone, a feature known as adaptive design.
The new TampaBay.com also makes it easier to share photos and stories with friends on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more. The social media integration gives readers a more personalised experience, such as commenting on stories, sharing them, and following what friends are doing on TampaBay.com.
“Not only is it an improvement for the Times, but it also sets a new standard for the entire industry,” says Peter C. VanRysdam, chief marketing officer of 352 Media Group. “The site lets users find information about everything from world news to what’s going on in their neighbourhood.”
So far, we have had great response from our readers and advertisers. And yes, we have plans for further development in the coming months. Stay tuned.