Web design case study: The Irish Times

Web design is constantly evolving, taking new trends into account in order to ensure it offers the best services to customers. Finding inspiration for your own web design is important and for those looking to build a site which retains brand integrity whilst catering to the specific needs of customers, the redesigned website of The Irish Times is the perfect example.

What’s changed?

According to a report posted on their own website, The Irish Times has undergone a digital facelift in order to make it more accessible for users logging on using mobile devices. Changes have made it easier for users to access relevant parts of the site and here are some of our favourite new and improved features:

• More modern visual style

Cleaner lines and a smoother appearance make it far easier to know what you’re looking at and keeps content well defined. Good content and high quality journalism is at the heart of The Irish Times and the new appearance certainly emphasises this in order to retain the brand’s integrity.

More dynamic online tools

From live blogs to live news streams, The Irish Times has made sure that its online tools are up to speed and extended their availability. The benefit of this is the ability to stay on top of current information – something which is integral to the fast paced world of news and online journalism. The live blog is also great for promoting social interaction and sharing, something which can help boost the number of readers and extend the penetration of articles.

•New debate section

Working on the back of the dynamic online tools, the site is also introducing a new debate section intended to promote discussion between columnists, writers and readers. Common topics of politics, crime and social issues will all be up for debate with the site’s best columnist and opinion writers brought together to give a rounded view of issues which mean something to Irish readers.

Why’s it changed?

For those interested in the reason behind the change, the answer is simple: changing trends. The internet has evolved massively over the past few years and a report on the digital appetite of Irish customers compiled by Sky Ireland highlighted how mobile access and social interaction were key areas of growth for the internet market.

Sky Ireland, who provide varied broadband packages to Irish customers and operate in rivalry to other brands such as Virgin Media, found that more than half of those surveyed read online news articles whilst on the daily commute. Using smartphones and tablets, 51% accessed news sites on-the-move with a similar amount (49.4%) also checking into social media sites at least three times.

Combining these two facts together creates a clear picture of the situation surrounding internet trends in Ireland and makes The Irish Times’ decision to adjust their website more than understandable. With online journalism at its heart, social interaction encouraged through new tools and better accessibility for mobile devices, the paper is the perfect case study for effective web design which caters to emerging trends without sacrificing their identity.

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