Why USA Today Rebuilt Its Website

News and non-news stories will be more clearly marked

A snippet of USA Today
USA Today's new website uses colors to more effectively brand its sections (and market them). USA Today
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USA Today is rolling out a new website this week that executives hope will better organize its content for readers and make the brand more transparent.

Prioritizing color, the new site has crisper sections, and images are now featured in vertical photo galleries over the previous horizontal configuration. It’s the most significant redesign since 2012, when the site got a revamp to commemorate the brand’s 30th anniversary.

Article pages now have a bolder redesign.

“It’s another chapter in the evolution of our brand and digital innovation that we’ve done at USA Today,” said Jason Jedlinski, senior vice president of consumer product at the publisher.

Executives studied user behaviors for over a year before determining what needed to be tweaked on the site, which now includes a yellow label to clearly designate opinion pieces in an effort to be more transparent.

The site offers the same amount of ad inventory, but USA Today can now pair brands alongside messages that are in the same color to increase brand awareness, Jedlinski said.

Developers also focused on making the website load faster. “We’re proud of the balance we have today, we’re proud of the units we have today and the space and the creative canvas to be able to tell our story,” he added.

The options to advertise on USA Today also changed.

The new site will be available to some users beginning Monday, Oct. 28, and will be phased in for everyone over the next few days.

“Obviously, display is a big part of what we do today and will continue to do in the future, with high-impact performance,” said Michael Kuntz, COO of USA Today owner Gannett’s national division. “The use of color and celebrating that heritage was really an easy way for us to create more demarcation between our news and non-news [stories], and easier for advertisers to embrace that and be comfortable with [it].”

@SaraJerde sara.jerde@adweek.com Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.