CNN is planning its most significant changes to CNN.com and the CNN digital platforms in more than a decade for the Fall. The channel is preparing to launch a redesigned site that not only looks different to users, but has a completely new back-end system that its editorial producers can utilize.
“People are often overwhelmed by our site, we have said it before but it sometimes seems like a machine that spits out breaking news,” CNN Digital senior VP KC Estenson said at Time Warner Center this afternoon. “It needs to stop doing that, it needs to pay off like the real human beings that are creating this stuff.”
There are a number of changes that will be obvious to users. The focus will be on photos and video (including photo and videos that are “full bleed” and take up most of the screen), and there will be much more color. In fact, the colors of the site will change throughout the day based on the news. In the morning CNN.com will have softer colors, shifting to blues and grays during the day. If there is urgent breaking news–such as a bombing–the entire color scheme for the site will shift to red.
“Big Pictures and Big Headlines” is the message that CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker sent to staff, and the new site reflects that.
To help with that cause, the site will also look the same regardless of what device it is accessed on. The layout is capable of changing on the fly to best fit the device, and the top stories will stay the same. Right now, each device has a slightly different layout, and sometimes even feature different story selection. Advertisements will also be reformatted dynamically to fit the device, allowing CNN to sell ads on desktop that also work on mobile.
“Many organizations are struggling to monetize mobile,” Estenson says. “One key paradigm is to remove the friction of buying mobile.”