Not Invented Here syndrome (NIH) is the guilty pleasure that tempts engineering teams into creating bespoke approaches to problems that have already been solved. Even having your eyes opened to the temptation doesn’t immunize you from it. So, how do you know whether a bespoke solution warrants the effort or if it’s just plain hubris?
Last month, Alley Interactive helped launch a redesign and replatforming of DenverPost.com, the website for The Denver Post. Together with parent company Digital First Media, the Alley team created a streamlined, contemporary website and mobile experience for their audience and advertisers. We also included a more efficient CMS workflow for the Post’s reporters and editors.
As Colorado’s most prominent newspaper, The Denver Post covers national and local issues for readers interested in Colorado news, politics, sports, and lifestyle. Alley’s Creative Director Christa Field worked with input from the Denver Post team to create a design that incorporated local influences and showcased the Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning work.
Christa notes that the success of the Denver Post redesign stemmed from two things: Successful collaboration with the publication and using that information to make the design fit with the Post’s brand, identity, and audience. “We did this by sharing documents and using tools that allowed quick comments to evolve into rich conversations,” she explained. “With most projects, it’s easy for people to speak about what they like as it refers to something that they already know exists. We created a series of visual vignettes that mapped to their audience’s areas. This provided us with a way of talking about design that reflected their region and history. The Post gave us feedback suggesting silver as the leading concept. This translated into the thoughtful use of white space and grayscale found in subtle elements such as the borders between content. The end result was a modern and sophisticated design solution that reflected their Western heritage.”
In addition to the design, Alley implemented our open-source Ad Layers WordPress plugin, which makes work more efficient for the Post’s advertising teams. Using this plugin, they can customize the layout of advertisements on the site directly from WordPress without using an outside ads management application or requiring extensive development changes. The plugin also improves ad viewability in accordance with industry best practices.
By moving from an outdated legacy CMS onto WordPress.com VIP, we streamlined the work of editors and reporters. We integrated WordPress with their print CMS, allowing stories to be edited for both print and online within the same edit screen. A new drag-and-drop interface makes homepage curation far simpler than the site’s previous workflow, allowing producers and editors to easily add news or move stories around the page.
Congratulations to The Denver Post for a successful launch!