The Telegraph is to unveil its redesigned website within a week with refreshed news, sport and travel sections.
No firm release date has been set, but the new design would be released within the week, Telegraph Media Group digital editor Ed Roussel and chief information officer Paul Cheesbrough told journalists today.
Like the Guardian, which has been overhauling its website for the past year, the Telegraph is gradually applying its new design to sections of the site, rather than attempting a one-off ‘big bang’relaunch.
Instead, sections of the site will be unveiled gradually as they are moved to the eSceninc content mangement system that the Telegraph is adopting.
‘We weren’t really looking for a seismic change because what we have found with web design projects is that it’s a fine balance between improving the experience but not losing your users who have got used to the previous design,’said Roussel.
The relaunch comes after a six-month user research and redesign process that was conducted in-house at Telegraph Labs, the company’s new research and development unit.
Like several other recent news website redesigns, Telegraph.co.uk will move to exclusively horizontal navigation, dispensing with vertical menus to increase the amount of space available for content above the fold.
The primary aim of the redesign was to increase user engagement with the site, said Roussel. The Telegraph currently publishes around 300,000 news stories online each year, and hopes to increase the volume of pages that each user sees.
UK users of Telegraph.co.uk currently access an average of 16 pages a month, and although Roussel there was no firm target, the aim was to increase that figure within the next year.
‘In the next 12 months we hope to achieve a much deeper level of engagement so that for each person who comes to the site, they not only read our news and sport but see really the full gamut of content across the site,’he said.
Telegraph.co.uk’s redesigned article pages will include links to related stories within the site’s archive generated using search technology from Autonomy Corp.
‘About half of our traffic comes through aggregators like Google and what we have done is create a design that not only lets you read the article that you have come to see but also a slew of articles directly related to your search,’said Roussel.
‘Every time you surf into this new design you’ll be served with a greater volume of relevant content. It really is taking the concept of making the article page the home page several steps further,’he added.
Cheesbrough said the Telegraph had also made technical improvements to the site to improve its speed and reliability. With the exception of the BBC News website, the Telegraph is now the fastest UK news website, he claimed.
The move comes as competition among the national newspaper websites is increasing.
According to the latest ABCe figures, Telegraph.co.uk is now the second-most read national newspaper website, with 18.497 million unique users in May, just behind Mail Online with 18.7 million users and ahead of Guardian.co.uk on 18.3 million unique users. All three sites have undergone redesigns in recent months.