Washington Week with Gwen Ifill
A massive site reorganization, striking redesign and a new content management system for Washington Week with Gwen Ifill brings TV’s longest running prime-time news program into the 21st century. Ms. Ifill gushed, “It’s gorgeous.” Nuff said.
- International Academy of the Visual Arts: W3 Awards: Silver Award: Television (2010)
- Web Marketing Association WebAwards: TV Outstanding Website (2010)
Washington Week with Gwen Ifill is the longest-running primetime news and public affairs program on television, but its website needed a boost into the 21st century.
When the Bean team was brought on board, the existing site was nearly six years old, and lacking in many of the features that web news junkies take for granted – no RSS, no social networking or sharing tools, and dated video player options.
In addition, the hard-working staff made all the site updates by hand each week (!) since the site had no back-end content management tools.
We were tasked with some pretty lofty goals: provide a fresh look fitting of the stellar news brand, reorganize to bring the cream-of-the-crop content to the surface, include a host of technological features to better engage the community and incorporate rich content management options.
The first order of business was to a content audit and review of site stats to identify areas of high and low usage, as well as get a better understanding from staff on what updating tasks were hard to manage so that we could recommend the optimal content, management tools and interactivity for the new site.
After an informative card sort exercise to determine optimal content organization, Bean Creative rearchitected the Washington Week site to provide more user-centric navigation and organizational tools (such as tagging) to streamline viewers’ access to commentary of interest.
Now, the Weekly Show video, along with that episode’s Webcast Extra and Transcript, are all tied together for an optimized and efficient way to get the broadcast and the post-broadcast discussion in one place. In addition, the home page has a flexible feature area to showcase daily editorials and commentary leading up to Friday’s broadcast.
In redesigning and rebranding the website, our designers avoided a stark white background often seen on other news sites in order to differentiate the program’s more in-depth and discussion approach. Instead, the new look features a dramatic color palette of warm tones to create a soft look that is welcoming and trustworthy.
On the content management side, we implemented an open-source Drupal. The CMS not only provides ease up updating for staff, but integrates social networking and community tools to engage the viewing audience with Gwen Ifill on timely issues raised leading up to and on the broadcasts.
Not only is there a striking new design and a crystallized social media strategy, the site showcases the weekly show in a whole new way.
The improved usability and site architecture allows site visitors to quickly find popular content and new, exciting site features including:
- Aggregated content from Ms. Ifill’s most recent NewsHour appearances and related material dynamically pulled from their partner, National Journal
- From the Vault archival videos allows site visitors to view archival video footage with fresh eyes as it relates to the week’s happenings and current events covered in the show
- Panelist information is tied to their weekly appearances
- New, nimble site search makes elaborate use of taxonomy and tagging for more relevant results
Where there was once a one-way flow of information, the redesigned site is now a dialog fitting the program’s format – offering everything from RSS and user commenting on each page to social networking features like tell-a-friend viral marketing and rating/ranking tools – to encourage deeper engagement with the content and program.