hile the economy is causing many media companies to hold off on major new initiatives, Light Reading, a unit of United Business Media's TechWeb that focuses on the global communications marketplace, relaunched its Web site last month. Sibling site unstrung.com, which covers wireless technologies for enterprise IT executives, was simultaneously relaunched using the same template.
Warren Hultquist, director of Web operations at Light Reading, said the site relaunch plans were hatched early last year, prior to the economic meltdown. He said the group was able to take advantage of in-house resources and experience to proceed despite the downturn.
“We are using a new home-grown publishing platform,” he said. “With the old platform, we had a lot of legacy code that over time slowed things down,” he said. “Now, it's much snappier.”
The site has been redesigned to eliminate visual clutter with a white background and more space between various elements. Navigation has been simplified.
“One of our design goals was to give more obvious priority to specific things,” Hultquist said. Light Reading TV is one of those. An LR TV box is now placed in the upper-right-hand corner of the home page, and a slider allows the user to browse thumbnails of 10 recent videos without leaving the page.
Another priority was to showcase and increase audience participation. Users can now set up personal profiles, rate content and sign up for e-mail alerts that let them know when another user has responded to their comments.
Light Reading, an early Web-only b-to-b media site, was founded in 2000 and acquired by UBM in 2005 for $27 million. Unstrung was included in the deal. The group also includes Cable Digital News, an online b-to-b site acquired by Light Reading in 2006. —M.G.