Digital First Media – Top Stories Photo Widget

screenshot of Top Stories Photo Widget

An important metric measured by news sites is user engagement, namely the time a user spends on a site. News site analytics also show that users frequently access articles directly from search engines – so how do you increase user engagement in that situation?

One solution was to dynamically display each site’s top stories in a visually appealing image rotator that provided a link to each top story.

For this project I performed the following tasks:

  • Prototyped the widget appearance using Adobe CS.
  • Modified the PHP template that processed Top News RSS feeds  so the resulting JavaScript created widget rendered correctly.
  • Deployed  for “Top Stories” visual rotator widget on the San Jose Mercury News and Twin Cities news sites.

The addition of this “Top Stories” widget on the San Jose Mercury News article pages became the greatest traffic driver on the site upon launch.