MNA removes “clutter” from its online titles

New easier-to-navigate websites featuring a content management system pioneered by the Washington Post have been introduced by the Midland News Association, which has updated its online offerings of the Shropshire Star and Express and Star.

The sites are the first in the UK to be built and powered by the Washington Post’s Arc Publishing content management system, and have been in development for more than a year.

The system allows senior print reporters to upload content straight to the websites using the MNA’s editorial system Knowledge.

The development team also focused on making the sites more mobile friendly to benefit the 62pc of MNA web users who visit the newspapers’ sites using a handheld device.

Andy Hill, managing director of MNA Digital, (pictured centre with members of the development team), said: “We are really pleased with the cleaner design for  Expressandstar.com and Shropshirestar.com. I would like to congratulate my team for their work, as well as colleagues in editorial and across the business, who have completed such a significant piece of work.

“The navigation of the sites was an important part of the project that received a lot of attention. The objective was to simplify the navigation and make it easier for our readers to find the content that they are interested in.”

Andy added: “During the project we conducted extensive user research, which showed that our sites were cluttered and confusing to navigate meaning that it could be hard for a reader to find the content they are searching for.

“Offering our readers too much choice through the navigation was counter-productive. The new navigation is simple to understand and works well on a mobile as it is easy to use on a small screen. This is important because over 60% of our users access our websites using their mobile phones.”

The MNA Digital team also plan to introduce the designs to their sister Claverley titles the Jersey Evening Post and the Guernsey Press.