BtoB’s new home page to emphasize timeliness

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When the home page is relaunched Thursday, its emphasis will be firmly on up-to-the minute news and analysis that takes it further than ever from its weekly roots. The home page redesign is the first step in a total overhaul of the site that will be rolled out over the remaining months of this year.

“With our more dynamic, fast-changing home page, our goal is to telegraph to the reader that we’re 24/7 online,” said John Byrne, editor in chief of

In the center column, which will focus on business news, a handful of top stories will include a headline and deck, but most will feature just a headline so that a greater number can be listed. All headlines will note the hour and minute they were posted, “creating the impression for readers that they should come back several times a day because the stories are changing by the minute,” Byrne said.

A new Market Summary section will dominate the left column on the top half of the page. “We had a very small area that summarized how the markets were performing at any given time, but nothing as big or as extensive as what we’re going to [provide],” Byrne said.

While the existing Market Info box simply lists the latest figures and changes for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq, the new section will have tabs that will enable users to quickly click from data on U.S. markets to information on the European and Asian markets. A second box will provide a continuously updated list of the top five gainers and losers, as well as those stocks with the highest trading volume.

Roger Neal, senior VP-general manager of BusinessWeek Digital, explained that the home page redesign “is really serving the loyal, core BusinessWeek audience” rather than a user who lands on a specific article via search. Through focus groups and other research, BusinessWeek found that “we needed to have a far more dynamic home page that would encourage more frequent visits.”

Two other significant changes will be simplified navigation across the top of the page and a video player imbedded in the right-hand column. Although has been increasing its amount of online video content for some time, the videos have appeared on story pages. “By placing the player on the home page, it does raise the game because it makes video a more central part of the overall experience,” Byrne said.

The new home page will continue to show user comments from’s companion site, Business Exchange (, which allows users to create business topics and aggregate content from anywhere on the Web under those topics.

Neal noted that the refurbished will use the same underlying technology as Business Exchange. “This platform gives us a lot more flexibility editorially, and it allows us to provide a lot more creative executions for advertisers as well,” he said.

Next month, BusinessWeek will launch its first mobile applications for the Apple iPhone and Research in Motion’s BlackBerry.

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