Abacus test story

Editors of the Paris-based international news site will be able to choose between five different front page design templates, allowing better use of photographs.

The redesigned IHT.com will adopt advertisement sizes used by NYTimes.com, to encourage cross-selling between the sister titles.

‘Our main goals are to provide a better news hole which will have more news and bigger photos an more layout types,’said Steven Shattenberg, the IHT’s director of digital operations.

The new front page will feature IHT.com blogs more prominently and will have a ‘discussion of the day’section aimed at highlighting active debates in the comment sections of individual articles.

Unlike the New York Times site, IHT.com will not embed video in individual story pages, but will use a Brightcove video player in a separate pop-up window.

‘We decided that embedding the video player directly into a page is actually a disservice to reader, because as soon as you click on a link or another page, you have lost your video.”

‘When I surf web and watch a video – because I’m one of these people with a very short attention span – I often will watch the video and surf around at the same time while listening to the audio.”

Although the project, which has been in the pipeline for six months, is primarily a redesign of the front page, navigation changes will also take effect across the whole site.

‘We’re really trying to take advantage of what the web can do these days, with CSS and Web 2.0. The whole page is being built with an [search engine optimisation] oriented approach which we’re hoping will really help us with traffic,’said Shattenberg.

Inside section front pages, which currently require a great deal of manual management, will become more automated, allowing the IHT.com‘s journalists to concentrate on editing the more heavily-visited story-level pages.

‘Most people don’t go to those pages anyway,’said Shattenberg, referring to section front pages.

‘We thought our resources were better spent on things that the reader wants to see, like photos on articles, and slideshows and other multimedia.’

• IHT.com‘s video service provider, Brightcove, has set up a London office as part of its investment towards expanding in its European client base, which also includes Reuters, Emap’s Heatworld and IPC Media’s Nuts. Hachette Filipacchi UK announced yesterday that it will launch a video channel on ElleUK.com using Brightcove’s service.

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