Midlands News Association new website goes live after redesign
by Design UK

September 2006, Midlands News Association's new websites for their top papers the Express And Star and the Shropshire Star designed and created by Design UK have gone live and been received well by visitors to the site.

After extensive research into newspaper website usability in UK and USA, Design UK focused on ease of use, strong IA and simplicity for its interface. This was important because as well as discrete content rich news and sports items for towns within the region, both sites needed to deal with a range of market place offerings including online jobs, motors and property. A consistent look and feel throughout was created with prominent and consistent tab navigation for the main subject areas. A similar template structure throughout maintains familiarity throughout the customer journey - with each section differentiated through colour coding

Design UK tested its designs through a usability and eyetracking study conducted with a group of existing site users. Feedback was extremely positive, with the insights gained leading to a few minor changes in layout, which have since led to performance improvements.

David Ratcliffe, head of online at Midlands News Association, comments, “We chose Design UK to create the site because of its commitment to and understanding of our business objectives. The Design UK team has followed through on its thorough and scientific approach to the challenges identified to create an interface that will greatly enhance our business performance.

Andy Farmer, Director, Design UK, adds, “Midlands News Association is an extremely influential and well established newspaper group in the UK and the redesign of its sites was an exciting prospect for the team. The focus has been on creating a local marketplace with enhanced usability ensuring maximum time on the site and return visits by readers."

Part of the Claverley Group, the Midlands News Association is the biggest independent news association in the UK; the Express and Star covers Wolverhampton, Walsall and Willenhall, Sandwell and Great Barr, Dudley and Halesowen, Stourbridge, Kidderminster, Cannock and Rugeley, Lichfield and Stafford and Stone and is the biggest-selling regional evening newspaper in Britain while the Shropshire Star covers all of Shropshire.

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Andy Farmer

Director
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Design UK
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www.designuk.com
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Published on: 12:00AM on 14th September 2006