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Forbes.com redesign continues

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Last week, Forbes.com entered the third stage of its ongoing redesign with changes to its home page and the reworking of eight major channel pages—Business, Entrepreneurs, Investing, Leadership, Lifestyle, Lists, Op/Ed and Technology. It also reworked 75 section pages.

The redesign brings these sections into alignment with the new Forbes.com look and feel, which includes more white space and the positioning of the authors as experts in their field.

Under the direction of Lewis DVorkin, who joined Forbes Media as chief product officer in last June, Forbes.com debuted the first stage of its rolling redesign in August, unveiling a blogging platform that was ported over from True/Slant, a news and opinion website DVorkin founded in 2009. Forbes acquired True/Slant in tandem with hiring DVorkin and subsequently discontinued the site.

In the second phase of the reworking, simultaneous with a redesign of Forbes magazine, Forbes.com added social networking features such as enhanced syndication to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter platforms as well as the ability for users to follow individual reporters, topics or people.

Now, in the third iteration of the DVorkin-led redesign, changes are visible both above and below the logo at the top of the home page. Above the logo, the eight content channels are listed. When a user clicks on the arrow to the right of each one, a navigation box that acts like a table of contents appears.

In addition to hotlinks to subsections, such as Auto within Business or Games within Tech, the navigation boxes feature one story enhanced with a photo. “We added the opportunity to promote a piece of content from each channel, and it's a way to catch the [viewer's] eye,” said Andrea Spiegel, VP-new product development at Forbes Media.

Below the logo, the home page now features icons that allow users to automatically share the page on Facebook and Twitter or to follow Forbes on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

“The home page has the same back end as it did before. We only changed the design layer,” Spiegel said, adding that a more comprehensive revamp is scheduled for later in the year. Forbes.com is powered by the WordPress content management system. The True/Slant team had customized that CMS for themselves. “We also have a legacy CMS we're trying to wean ourselves off,” she added.

Along the way, Forbes.com has incorporated various tools into the CMS system to provide additional functionality, such as enabling writers to easily add charts, photos and videos to their pages. “We're taking a modular approach,” Spiegel said.

One new tool comes from Solr, an open-source enterprise search platform. “This is an editorial search separate from the site search, and it gives editors access to all the content in our Wordpress and legacy CMS systems,” she said.

With the most recent redesign, authors are now identified as staff, contributors or, in the case of AdVoice writers, by their company name. AdVoice is a program Forbes.com debuted last year to allow marketers to connect directly with the audience through clearly marked blog posts.

SAP was the first marketer to participate; Microsoft Corp. became the second earlier this week. The design of the AdVoice columns was also tweaked slightly to “make it even more clear and transparent” where content has been written by a marketer, Spiegel said.

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