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Johnson Press

Contract :: user experience consultant :: 2009

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Johnson Press are the foremost publisher of local newspapers in the UK, with venerable titles like The Yorkshire Post, The Sunderland Echo and hundreds others besides in their stable.

For some years, each of these titles has, of course, needed to have their own website - and the wholesale overhaul of this creaking, poorly designed edifice was the job that EMC undertook during the late summer of 2009.

As a contract user experience consultant, I was charged with the responsibility for creating a templated website structure - a taxonomy and page-level IA - that would work for upwards of 80 or more disparate news titles (in the first instance). The challenges were not inconsiderable, requiring the solution to balance technology (a new but needlessly rigid CMS), advertising (the usual competing demands of ads wanting more space and editorial wanting them to have less), modernity (it had to look like the solution of a progressive, Internet-literate publisher) and local identity (whilst it needed to be templated for local markets and titles, it couldn't be a completely vanilla solution).

What emerged - after some difficult and challenging months of effort - was a great solution, I think: the client was delighted, which is always a good sign.

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