The new SCANonline

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In the past few years, SCAN has got better as a publication. The paper has improved tremendously in terms of content and design. The website, however, got a little left behind.

Over the summer, we’ve been working on a new design for this website. It is largely inspired from the print edition. We have drawn some examples from popular news websites such as Guardian.co.uk and NYTimes.com. So you may find some familiar features in the new SCANonline.

What’s new?

At the beginning of last academic year, we wanted to make the website an equal to the print paper. In the past year writers were encouraged to submit stories online instead of the old method through emails. We managed to achieve this and get stories published online as they became available in between the two week printing gap.

From now on, all submissions, including texts and photos will be done entirely through this website. Selected stories will go straight to the print paper. This way, we can keep the paper’s content fresh while the more up-to-date stories will appear on this website.

You can find the online version of all stories for an issue in the archive. They are also available in downloadable PDFs. Some past issues from previous years are only available in PDFs. We are in the process of organising the archive, if you would like to help, please contact us.

The website will also serve as an extension to the main contents that appear in the paper. We’re going to put more multimedia contents like videos, photos, audio podcasts and interactives on SCANonline. They are the extra contents that we want to share with our readers but can’t do in the print paper. We will be introducing more exclusive online only content and blogs, such as this one, throughout the year.

Content structure and navigation

We have reorgansied the sections to match the print paper. Features, lifestyle and culture sections will come under Carolynne — a new pullout in SCAN. The dominant colour in every page will match the section colour.

The Editorial and Letters to the Editor never appeared online before but they will now. One of the things that the news team have been doing in the past year was investigative reports. This year, we are introducing a separate investigations section which we will group together with news on the website. The first story in this section will be on hidden costs of university.

The menu looks very trim right now but we will expand it as more new contents become available. In the future, we will be adding menu items like blogs, multimedia contents, columnists and special coverage. There are also navigational links at the bottom of all pages on this website.

Home page

The starting point of this design process was the home page. We wanted to make it as simple as possible and to make sure each section gets the same level of exposure on the home page. Thus, the five-column layout.

Comments and discussions

We recognise the lack of discussion on this website since it was launched. This could possibly be due to the fact that everyone is required to sign in to post comment on a story. We have decided that this requirement will remain to avoid spam and because we believe that everyone should take ownership in what they say. However, any LUSU member will now be able to post comments using a nickname.

For most users, your nickname is your first name by default. You can change your nickname in the edit profile page which will also change your nickname across the LUSU websites. We think of nickname as quasi-pseudonym. Depending on what you use as nickname, your comments may appear to be completely anonymous. Each comment is still attached to a user in our system but the ones posted using a nickname will not be linked to a user profile.

We hope this will encourage discussion online. Please also read our comments and discussion policy.

We have some great ideas for this website and are planning to introduce more features and contents in the future. We are always looking for more help to materialise these ideas and plans as well as to bring in new ones. If you’re interested in design and web development or in online journalism and creating multimedia contents, please contact me at [email]scan.website@lusu.co.uk[/email] to join the web team.

I would like to personally thank these people for their input, help and support: SCAN Editor Lizzie Houghton, LUSU IT Manager Adam Bardsley, SCAN Assistant Editor Ali Shaw, Michael Benson and everyone who has linked to the beta version on Facebook and Twitter.

With this, we hope the new design is going to work well for you. Please send us your feedback and suggestions. Let us know what you think in the discussion.

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