icon_newspaper.gifThe Oklahoman
Wednesday, July 7, 2004

The photos are bigger, the navigation easier and the personalization options plentiful for any of the 340,000 registered users who click into NewsOK.com today.

NewsOK.com, the Internet presence for both The Oklahoman and KWTV News9, launched its redesigned Web site last week with a mission to make it easier for users to navigate to news content, said Kelly Dyer, general manager.

“You can navigate to any page on the site from the entry point,” Dyer said. “The new design uses mouse-over navigation that presents the headlines in drop-down menus. There is actually more on the page because we are using the mouse-over technology.”

As users drag their mouse over the navigational menus at the top of the home page, headlines drop down and allow readers to access news stories with a single click.

“It makes it easier to drill down without ever leaving the page,” Dyer said.

The site features a new color scheme and customizing features that allow readers to personalize its appearance with university or seasonal background themes that are carried through on each page.

“This is our third design version since we launched NewsOK on Aug. 19, 2001,” Dyer said. “This is the most drastic shakeup, but we think we get better every time.

“You can’t afford to be stagnant in the Internet world. As technologies become available we want to take advantage of them to make our site the best experience it can be for the users.”

Dyer said the bigger use of photos on the site doesn’t slow access time down for visitors because it is built on a new software platform that caches pages on a first visit and runs faster on subsequent visits.

Other new features incorporated into the redesign include weather and a radar link on every page and new options for viewing and sharing news stories. Readers can make type size bigger or smaller, change fonts or even send a link to the story to an instant messenger “buddy” as well as in e-mail.

The busy NewsOK Web site averages 16 million “page views” per month with a record 18 million page views in March, Dyer said.

“We work with our partners at The Oklahoman and News9 to ensure the site is updated and current 24/7,” she said.

While most visitors to the site have experienced little trouble using the new features, Macintosh users aren’t able to view the site using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser, said NewsOK creative director Scott Horton.

“Our site best views in Mac operating system 10 using Safari or Mozilla browsers,” Horton said.

Dyer said NewsOK staff is working on facilitating Mac users.

“We want everyone to have access to the site,” she said.

Readers can take a tour of the new site and send feedback to NewsOK designers by clicking the “NewsOK 3.0” link on the site’s home page, Dyer said.