Today, the LDS Church launched a new beta Newsroom Website. As can be seen by clicking on the screen shots below, the difference between the two sites is quite remarkable, with considerable changes in content, format, functionality, and color scheme.
It’s a friendly, content-rich site that is highly social. From tracking trends to focusing attention via top stories and recent stories, the entire site follows modern convention for a very interactive — and very shareable — experience. The search functionality appears to be much improved, including searching of multimedia content. In short, the usability factor of the site is very high. According to the announcement on the Newsroom Blog, “significant technical enhancements have been made that will allow us to provide information to the news media, bloggers and the public much faster and more comprehensively.”
It’s very easy to stay connected with the new site — updates can come to you via Twitter, Facebook, email or a host of other networks. The Church is clearly taking social media seriously with this new format, perhaps recognizing that a large number of stories and articles will be shared one way or another… and hoping to be the centralized point of origin.
That said, the site does appear to have some divided attention problems. The old site had a primary central column and a couple of sidebars (the hallmark of a wise and noble site). This new site has trending stories, top stories, recent stories, spotlights, quick references… in short, a number of very urgent-looking captions, leaving the reader somewhat uncertain as to what really is the most important to look at. The site permits transmission of a greater number of stories and ideas, but at the cost of singular focus.
Being a beta, it’s not clear whether all the functionality and features are operational or finalized. Naturally, the Church is depending on you, the faithful readers of BCC, to test all the features, push all the buttons, and provide feedback which will be immediately passed on to the President of the Church. Get on it!