Trinity Mirror will begin an overhaul all of its regional newspaper web sites today with the relaunch of the Liverpool Echo and the Liverpool Daily Post sites.
Liverpoolecho.co.uk and LiverpoolDailyPost.co.uk are the first sites to deploy two new web site templates that Trinity Mirror has developed for its metropolitan dailies during a nine-month development process.
The new web templates will be rolled out to The Journal and the Evening Chronicle in Newcastle and the Evening Gazette in Teesside. They will be followed by Trinity Mirror’s titles in South Wales, North Wales, Huddersfield and Scotland.
The templates were built on a bespoke content-management system by Trinity Mirror’s in-house development team, following extensive user testing and consultation with editors and advertising sales staff.
The user testing included heat-mapping existing sites to see which elements of the existing sites users were clicking and which were being ignored, said Trinity Mirror director of regional digital media David Black.
The developers later refined the designes by observing 15 people as they used prototypes of the sites.
The new websites will have greater emphasis on multimedia, with video content prominent on the front page.
Interactivity and encouraging user-generated content will also be more prominent, said Black. Editors will have the option of enabling user comments on selected news stories, and users will be able to rate stories with a five-star scale, with the results featuring in a ‘most popular stories’panel on the front page.
The sites will have improved online forums and blogs, but Trinity Mirror has opted not to pre-moderate the additional comments that are expected on these new community features.
‘It wouldn’t be feasible to moderate everything, and also the legal advice we’re getting, which is probably the same as all the major publishers get, is that it’s actually legally safer to post-moderate than to pre-moderate content,’said Trinity Mirror editorial director Neil Benson.
In 2006, the Liverpool titles were also the first to have their web sites rebranded under their newspaper names, as Trinity Mirror sought to make better use of its newspaper brands online.
In March Trinity Mirror unveiled a third new web site template for its weekly titles, which was built on the Moveable Type blogging platform.