The fine folks over at The Houston Chronicle came to Blue Flavor to help them with an exciting new publishing venture. We sat down with Gary Love, the Chronicle’s Director of Product Development, and talked with him about the project we did for them. First, a bit of background.
“The leadership at the Houston Chronicle and Hearst have tasked the company with finding and serving audiences outside of the existing Chron.com audience. This is an absolutely critical approach that newspapers must take, however it required the team to rethink everything we do. From the way the site is scoped, to the voice/tone of the site, to the design, the technology, to the way we market it.”
The team came to Blue Flavor looking primarily for design work and our experience. “We identified folks who could help us with the technology and design to help mold the dream into reality. We looked at and chose Blue Flavor for a variety of reasons, however the primary reason was experience.”
We helped them with the web design of the new site, as well as everything from information design to naming and identity and the final templates they used to build it. Our experience with online publishing and information architecture for large, informational sites helped us jump in quickly and helped them shape their vision.
When asked what it was like to work with us, Gary had this to say: “Overall, we most appreciated Blue Flavor’s patience with us. With a brand-new site based on a brand new brand, we didn’t have all the answers and the Blue Flavor team helped us work through it at every step. Two elements stood out for us. First, the work on the logo, where the final result was more than just an image, it was a brand identity. Second, the way the design of the page worked so fluidly with the way it was coded in HTML/CSS. It really solidified in my mind the fact that online design is a fluid craft that transcends the visual.”
Of course, we totally agree and it’s one of the primary reasons we like to go through a full information architecture and design process in addition to creating the final template code. It can make a big difference in the final product, which in this case, came out very well.
“The site is being received well, with strong day over day, week over week, growth. Most importantly our target audience is beginning to embrace the site. As an aside, not taking ourselves too seriously is part of the soul of the site, so when we saw some folks (outside our target audience) deriding it, we turned the best quotes into house ads for the site. My favorite described the site as a ‘ham-fisted orgy of cursing’…it’s too good not to use.”
That sense of humor was a pleasure to work with and made this job a fun one. Head on over to 29-95 and check it out for yourself.
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