News Sentinel launching redesigned website

Visitors to the News Sentinel often comment on our “new” building, even though it has been 12 years since we moved in. Happily, our space off Western Avenue is still sharp and shiny, just like new.
Things change more quickly in the world of technology than in the realm of real estate, however. Our “new” website was launched in 2007, when about 10 million Americans had smartphones and digital tablets were still on Steve Jobs’ drawing board.
Today, two-thirds of Americans rely on smartphones, and there are some 100 million tablets in use in the U.S.
In response to this shift, the News Sentinel next week is rolling out a new website designed with the mobile Internet in mind.
The site will have a whole new look that will display perfectly on smartphones, tablets and desktop computers alike. It uses a technology called “responsive design,” which means that will know what sort of device you are using and adjust to match.
For the first time, too, readers will be able comment on stories using mobile devices.
Overall, the site has a cleaner, simpler look. The navigation is easier, with quick access to weather information linking to a 12-day forecast and weather alerts.
The search function, which admittedly had problems as our old site aged, should be much improved once all of our archived stories move onto the new website and are indexed. Unfortunately, because we are switching to a new commenting system, we won’t be able to transfer the comments attached to those old stories.
One thing I especially like about the new site is its livelier, more-visual presentation. Photos, videos and slideshows are highlighted. The site also pulls together all the elements of stories – text, pictures, videos, maps and graphics – into integrated packages for easy reading.
The News Sentinel’s special franchise content will be readily available, too.
In the past, Vols coverage and information about things to do were on our separate and websites. Now that content will be built right into the site, although those other domain names still will exist.
The launch is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. As in the past, some of the content on the new site will be available to all visitors, while subscribers will have access to the entire site and be able to comment on stories, as well.
If you are a subscriber, when you try to access premium content for the first time or comment on a story, you will be asked to log in. Simply type in your account user name and password. Often the user name is your email address, and if you have forgotten your password, no worries. There will be a link to help you recover it.
When you begin exploring the new site, try putting your cursor on the “Sections” button on the top navigation bar. You’ll then see the links to GoVolsXtra, and all of our other content areas. Check out the “helpful links” box, too, for direct links to read obituaries, sign up for a subscription or reach the newsroom.
We believe in East Tennessee, and we’re very excited to be making this investment in the future of news and information in the Knoxville area.
This is our new digital home, and we are eager to welcome you to it. Visit as soon as you can.